Story – A young programmer is invited by his genius billionaire boss to test out a new and experimental Artificial Intelligence in the form of Ava, an advanced android.
The first thing you might notice about the film is how stylish it was shot. It opens with a quick and self-explanatory scene of our main character – computer peon Caleb, winning some kind of lottery. Cut to a beautiful arial shot of him being brought to the owner of BlueNote, an uber gigantic Google like company.
From the flow of the natural setting we transition to a closed and claustrophobic house (and lab) owned by Nathan, founder of BlueNote. After a brief exchange of awkward plesentries we are introduced to Ava, an android that looks very robotic but very female at the same time.
I found myself thinking of how the CG artists of Eva captured a balance between a machine representation of the female form that was unnatural and sensual at the same time. I have to give credit to Alicia Vikander and her acting to communicate the subtle artificial sexyness. She played it with a combination of innocence and allure mixed together.
2 claps for the cinematography and how the setting periodically reflected the building tension of the story. Very 2001 Space Odyssey-esque. And that thought of mine had nothing to do with a reference to another more famous AI. The geometry added to the idea of the triangular relationship of the characters and the drama that unfolded with it. I’m sure that shooting in a house helped with the indie budget they probably had.
I thought the characters were somewhat compelling, but felt the dialogue could have been refined a bit to reveal more of the inner workings of the players, especially Ava. I got a sense of her motivations, but not enough to be useful callback references to her actions later in the film. But that may have been the idea of the writers seeing as how the plot was trying to keep the audience on their toes. Even still, a story is more rewarding if you know why a character does what they do and those reasons are not painted as one dimensional desires.
There were a couple decent plot twists that you might or might not see coming. But the film wasn’t trying to jar you with shocking moments. In fact I’m guessing a percentage of the audience thought Ex Machina was slow. I’m fine with a slow build-up as long as there is a payoff. In this case there was a payoff. But it didn’t blow me away. I will admit, films like this are not always told to blow people away. Like Ex Machina, these stories might just give you an ‘Oh Snap!’ moment, not an ‘OH SNAPPPP!’ one. This Alex Garland film didn’t hit me in the same way that his Sunshine and more popular 28 Days Later films did.
This film wasn’t the best AI science fiction, but it had great elements in the form of a thriller. Geek Soul Brother gives EX MACHINA 3.5 out of 5 Cosmic Afros.
I wonder how the story would have played out if Ava was a male android? if you want to see my thoughts on other films with girlie AIs, then check out my post – RISE OF THE FEMALE ANDROID FILMS!