It’s been a while since I reviewed an actual speculative fiction movie on this site. I have no idea why, but part of it might be related to all of the animated shows that I have been watching lately.
Whatever the case, I was pleased that I had a chance to watch Ex Machina. I heard that it was a good film, and it even won an award. Well, it won an Oscar for best visual effects, and this is the same year that Avengers: Age of Ultron, Mad Max Fury Road, and Star Wars: The Force Awakens came out.
Ex Machina is an indepedent film, and it feels like it. It has some very wonderful sets combined with some excellent scenery, but it still feels on a budget. The money clearly went into the special effects, and you can see on the poster where. Well, you can see that this lady is a robot, and she has transparent skin in some places so some cool techno machinery stuff shows.
I’d better start from the beginning. The story begins when Caleb, a computer programmer, is invited to visit his boss’s estate for a while for a special project. His boss Nathan is the boss of a big search engine company, and he is so rich that his estate is located in the mountains and it is quite a compound.
Nathan is a bit of a recluse, and apparently his company runs pretty well without him, because you don’t see Nathan doing anything work-related. That is, nothing outside research and development. Nathan has created a robot that looks human. That is, she has the flesh of a human on her face and hands, and let’s just assume that it is artificial. Nathan also has a live-in maid named Kyoko that doesn’t speak any English.
Apparently, Nathan wants Caleb to perform the Turing test, and if you don’t know what that is, it is a test from Alan Turing in order to determine a machine’s ability to exhibit intelligent behavior equivalent to, or indistinguishable from a human. There’s a really cool story about Alan Turing that you can watch in The Imitation Game, but I’m getting ahead and behind myself.
So Caleb goes to meet Ava the robot, and he finds that Ava is a lot more human than he’s expecting. In fact, he finds that Ava is quite attractive, and it is difficult for Caleb to come up with questions for Ava to pass his tests.
Now, the movie is very interesting because it is one of those films where there is little action at first, so it compensates by creating an uncomfortable and claustrophobic atmosphere. Then the music is very tonally perfect as well, and I couldn’t help but feel certain horror atmosphere.
I will have to say that the film is worth seeing, just so you can say that you saw it. It does explore the dynamic of creator/creation that shows up in a lot of good robot films, and I would say that Ex Machina achieves that. I don’t know if it is the best robot film, but I honestly am having a hard time figuring out what is the best. This is one of one of those films that I am going to spoil, so don’t read past the jump if you don’t want to know any more.