Good morning, good afternoon, and good evening residents of NERDBOT, The
Resident Redneck here to give you my take on Alex Garland’s directorial debut of the Sci-Fi flick Ex Machina.
As a fan of the Science Fiction genre as a whole I was interested in Ex Machina after I saw the trailer. It bore a striking similarity to another film, The Machine. As a fan of The Machine, I wanted to give Ex Machina a chance to stand on its own. That it did and more!
Alex Garland was an already accomplished writer, having penned Dredd, 28 Days Later, and the novel version of The Beach. His history is felt in the quiet, creepy feel of 28 Days Later. Yet as the film develops, you start to get an idea that this is more than a Sci-Fi flick about a robot. It speaks to mans nature to create and control.
Oscar Issac, who plays the films antagonist, (or is he?) Nathan, who we will all be getting to know well as Apocalypse in the upcoming Age of Apocalypse movie, plays the eccentric genius who invites a genius programmer to his Wonka-esqu high tech labs nestled high in the mountains to see his latest creation, a possible A.I. He seems to be a very welcoming and level headed guy, just looking for a friend and, possibly colleague to share in his inventions and trials. Almost as quickly as you warm up to him, you start to see the darker side of his eccentricity. His dark, lonely drinking binges give you a glimpse into what sort of man he really is.
Domhnall Gleeson, another Dredd alumni, plays the young programmer, Caleb,
who is given, what he believes to be, a wonderful opportunity to learn from one of the most gifted minds on the planet. He is very smart, if a bit geeky. He doesn’t seem to know how to relax at first and is a bit uncomfortable around the rich tech genius. His job, he soon discovers, is to perform a Turing test, a test that reveals whether a computer program just a program or a true artificial intelligence. Yet the more and more he interviews the futuristic Frankenstein’s creation, the more he realizes its not just testing her, but his own ideals of intelligence, imprisonment, and moral ambiguity.
Alicia Vikander, a relatively new actress, does a wonderful job as Ava, Nathans created A.I., and supposed purpose of Caleb’s visit. Ava seems to be a wide eyed child, new to every human experience we take for granted. From early on you get a sense of her longing to know more about the world and her lamentation of her captivity, having never leaving the room she was awoken in. She gives her tester and creator a run for their money, showing intelligence, creativity, and a desire to know more. A desire that might prove dangerous. As the testing goes on it starts to seem that Caleb begins to have feelings of attraction toward Ava, and even more, that she might have developed feelings for him. Yet one must wonder, can a machine truly love, or simply learn to manipulate? Does she really have the capacity to connect to a human or does she have some other plans? Does this face look evil to you? Only the end will truly tell, and tell it will! Whether you love the ending or hate, it will most assuredly give you strong feelings about the film.
To conclude this review of Ex Machina, I was truly impressed. I found this film to
be original, evocative, thought provoking, and oddly, a bit sexy. All of the actors involved did so well in taking you to new corners of our own moral standings. If we create an A.I. is it still a technological thing we can own, or does it, or in this case, she, have its own rights? Sadly because this movie was pirated so often and so widely, Garland lost so much money on it that his funding was pulled for his next film. As good as Ex Machina was, that truly saddens my heart. Make sure you get out and see films as they were meant to be seen, in surround sound on a 20 foot screen. Especially great indie flicks about our own humanity.
Resident Redneck scores this a 9.5/10