Ex Machina is a 2015 sci fi thriller that follows computer programmer Caleb (Domhnall Gleeson) who wins a week with Blue Book CEO Nathan (Oscar Isaac) in his isolated futuristic home. During the week Nathan wants Caleb to judge whether artificial intelligence AVA (Alicia Vikander) is able to portray thought and human consciousness even after passing the Turing Test. Caleb and Ava become closer with romantic links during their conversations and AVA is desires to hear about the outside world, these conversations become more intense and there is a growing distrust with Nathan and they want to escape.
That is the basic plot premise and I really don’t want to go into too much more detail as the story is exceptionally paced to slowly peel away layers of human interaction from Caleb and Nathan’s drinking, to the romanticly tinged meetings between Caleb and AVA.
Honestly I only started becoming interested in Ex Machina after seeing it was Alex Garland’s directorial debut after loving his previous work as author of the novel The Beach which was later turned into the Leonardo DiCaprio/Danny Boyle movie and when he later teamed up with Boyle again for the new age zombie flick 28 Days Later. He also has penned screen plays for Dredd, Sunshine and the video game scripts for Enslaved and story supervisor for the Devil May Cry reboot. He is one person whose work I actively follow, he has a great storytelling presence and a very futuristic and sci fi palette and I love his work.
I have always loved sci fi movies that border on reality or show an alternate reality, I like to think of them as grounded sci fi, pushing already existing theories to their creative limits. Ex Machina has this element of realism. We already have advanced robots and within 20years time we may come to a point where we will have a hard time judging human from robot. This is a scary but electrifying thought. Will we have to revamp the Turing Test for this or will there be real life Caleb’s who have to interview and inspect possibilities.
I am a massive movie fan and really appreciate styling within movies, these can be divisive and usually independent movies but for me I prefer creative control over mass appeal. If these two ever meet I will be in movie heaven. I must point out for me Drive came pretty close and so does Ex Machina. While still an indie movie made for a budget of $13 million and most of that was probably CGI budget it oozes it’s own futuristic style from the design of AVA, the architecture of Nathan’s mansion, location choices, the cinematography, the music choice, everything fits perfectly into Garland’s vision. And before you say all movies should fit into director’s visions, this is true, but some work better than others and Ex Machina for me is a shining example of it.
I’d love to know if you’ve seen Ex Machina and your thoughts on it?