Ex Machina is the highly intriguing, well-researched, solidly constructed and acted, version of Artificial Intelligence (AI) for the 21st century.
It’s sexually charged without being over the top. It also serves its purpose to get people actively talking about the ramifications of AI and the purposes it may or may NOT serve. The movie does a fantastic job with showcasing the ethical dilemma inherently a part of any discussions and potential achievement in AI – all the while giving one a solid look into the endless possibilities and the endless negative outcomes that may appear.
Ex Machina stars two of my favourite talents in Oscar Isaac (Inside Llewyn Davis and Star Wars) and Domhnall Gleeson (About Time and Unbroken) and a relative newcomer in Alicia Vikander.
As you can expect, there are no flailing parts to play in such a tightly wound film. You literally only see four characters for almost the entire film. As a result, no weak pointes, no incessant or wasted dialogue, every moment, every scene has a purpose.
Nathan (Oscar Isaac) is NOT your typical billionaire geek! In fact, he very much reminds you of someone who’s highly intelligent, yet stumbled upon this big idea (rather clumsily, in fact) and just happened to earn billions in the double digits because of it!
For example, he exercises CONSTANTLY in the film all the while drinking and cursing like a wayward sailor. And in a way, he is one. Why? Because he’s sitting on what may easily be one of the top 50 greatest discoveries in the 21st century and it’s really approached as just another day at the office. He’s a genius of course, but he has his own dark twisted fantasies going on that serve to remind us that it’s great at the top, but also extremely lonely.
Let me say this: I’m a bit blown away by the performance of Alicia Vikander (Ava) because I don’t really know much about her. But she’s brilliant and every single interaction with her literally gives you CHILLS. She literally obliterates the Turing Test and makes you FEEL that Ava is indeed the next peg in robotics or even human evolution. Every move Ava makes is calculated and blizzard like and yet there’s an implied softness that Alicia gives Ava, which creates such a Mariana Trench like depth. She pulls you into the deep and there’s no escape once you’ve truly hit the darkness.
Kyoko (Sonoya Mizuno) is so brilliantly crafted it boggles my mind. WHY?!?! Because the woman conveys more emotion with hand gestures and facial expressions than most actors portray with FULL dialogue!!! She is introduced right in the middle of the second act and her connection and yet apprehension with Nathan cannot in any way be denied. It isn’t forced. It flows smoothly and effortlessly and again, and I cannot stress this enough, THE WOMAN DOES NOT SPEAK DURING THE ENTIRE FILM!
Then there is the connection between Caleb and Nathan. Two men, eerily similar in many ways (both child prodigies) and yet their paths could not be more different. And yet, you find a kinship of sorts similar to a mentor/mentored situation. In pretty much any other film you would say although these two have a lot in common, they couldn’t be more different but truthfully, they are intrinsically linked in that they both want something out of Ava, ones intentions a bit more insidious and self-serving than the other.
Nathan spends a lot of time attempting to be the anti-geek. Far too much that at times it feels forced. They are isolated throughout the entire film and yet you can easily see that this man has no shortage of ability to make friends and manipulate the situation to his betterment.
Even so, literally the only four people he seems to connect with are himself, Caleb, Ava, and Kyoko. You’re being given a window seat into the eccentrics of a dude-bro billionaire and yet there are many moments where you find his attempts to convey this archetype highly over the top and unnecessary.
The other thing that is a bit off-putting is that the relationship and the sessions between Ava and Caleb run a bit too short. They serve as kinks in the flow, more so than the establishing of a new relationship with a friend or rival. They connect, yes, but it’s rushed, something a unique film like this should not have to deal with.
Even with these issues, there can be no doubt that Ex Machina is a masterpiece of new territory and gigantic proportions without tripping and falling over one’s self. It’s an absolute #MUSTSEE and a true gem of a film that few have the pleasure of ever getting to see.
A vision for the future that begs the question, just because one CAN do something, does that mean that they SHOULD?!?!
#MustSee #SheCritiquesIt #WhatWorksWhatDoesNot
Our Resident Movie Reviewer Joyll Cambridge hails from Manchester, United Kingdom and currently lives in New York, New York.
She loves all things movies, fitness and swirling. To read Joyll’s personal blog at The Humanist Exec, click here.
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Copyright ©2015 Michelle Matthews Calloway, ASwirlGirl™, The Swirl World™, The Swirl World Podcast™, The Swirl World Inspiration Daily™, Swirl Nation™, All rights reserved. Photo of Joyll Cambridge used with permission. Movie poster of Ex Machina obtained here. All rights reserved.