Lately I’ve been “craving” for a thought-provoking film that makes you go wtf and keep you awake at night contemplating the “what ifs” that the movie made you think about. Ex Machina seemed like a good candidate and although it isn’t as brain-wracking as Inception or Predestination, it is still one smart and stylish film – enough to satisfy my appetite for a good flick.
Caleb Smith (Domhnall Gleeson) is a computer programmer working for Bluebook – the world’s biggest search engine. Caleb apparently wins in a staff lottery that lets him stay over for a week at the private home/research facility of Bluebook’s enigmatic owner – Nathan Bateman (Oscar Isaac). Caleb discovers that his visit is not just for a vacation but to take part in a research to test if the humanoid robot that Nathan created called Ava has consciousness. As you may have guessed, Ava isn’t exactly very happy about her predicament.
Ex Machina Trailer
I know what you’re thinking – Bluebook is essentially Google in real life, and who knows maybe they’ve already got a fully functioning, self-aware and conscious AI at the moment. Ex Machina may be the stuff of Sci-Fi, but what makes it appealing is that the plot isn’t really that farfetched when you think about what humanity has accomplished in the present. AI may seem like a thing of the future, but it could very well be already happening right now, especially when you consider Nathan’s “tools” for creating Ava – cellphones allowed him to record facial expressions and behaviors of every mobile phone owner in the world through cameras and microphones. Search queries on Bluebook allowed him to harvest indicators of human interest and behavior. If this can really be done, with Google’s search engine and Android smartphones, don’t you think they may have already made an actual android out there?
Ex Machina’s relatability works, but the predictability of it all had me skeptic as I was watching the film. I’ve already seen movies with AI in the premise that eventually ends up having the AI becoming self-aware and starts rebelling against their creators. Ex Machina seemed to be too smart for that yet mid-way through the film, it starts feeling like it’s heading towards the same conflict. Eventually, I started not to mind because the predictability was masked by the intriguing characters, and was justified by how the plot progressed and the characters developed.
This is one character driven film that relied heavily on the performances of the cast. It’s amazing how the film was slow-paced, yet the characters and their interactions were actually interesting enough to keep you glued to the screen.
Ex Machina is a thought-provoking film that has a good mix of sci-fi and suspense. The premise isn’t a bright new idea, yet the plot, performances, and relatability of it all is enough to make you stay through the whole movie.