What is it about? :: Bluebook is the most popular search engine in the world, handling more than ninety percent of the internet user search. It is one of the most powerful companies in the world, and maintains a certain amount of control over the internet. Caleb Smith (Domhnall Gleeson), a programmer working at the same company, wins a one-week visit to the home of the CEO of the same company. Nathan Bateman (Oscar Isaac) lives in a secluded building surrounded by greenery, an environment providing beautiful views and assuring separation from the busy life of the cities where the search engine offices are based. The only other person at home is a maid known as Kyoko (Sonoya Mizuno) who doesn’t understand English and just does her job.
So what happens in this environment? :: So, this home of the CEO is actually more than what meets the eye. One would have guessed the same considering the fact that he has almost no contact with anyone else. He has a secret, and the place is more of a secret research facility than a house. He has developed something which needs to be tested, and Caleb is the man to administer the test to a special humanoid robot with Artificial Intelligence. This robot named Ava (Alicia Vikander) develops a good friendly relationship with Caleb, but it seems that she is a lot more than what he knows about, and there is a long history behind the robot and also beyond her. There are things that will be uncovered in the environment, but not many facts can go outside that world.
The defence of Ex Machina :: An intelligent science fiction movie takes form as Ex Machina, as it slowly, but steadily moves on to become more and more interesting, from a rather normal beginning. It has the good looks right from the beginning as the scene shifts to a world close to natural beauty. There, the insides of the home are also well done. There is elegance all around, and then we see the robot with the Artificial Intelligence and we feel that it might be the best we have seen with the design. Then, things go on to become rather tense, a feeling which comes along with the intellectual and creepy side going forward together. Sooner or later, this one asks you about whose side you are on, and most of the time when facing the question, you will have no answer; but you might not need to take sides – you can grab the messages instead. Then there is Alicia Vikander as the lady robot who will simply take your breath away with her performance; not human or robot, she is right there as the Artificial Intelligence.
Positives and negatives :: The other two main actors, Domhnall Gleeson and Oscar Isaac do their job really well. In this movie, you can see no action sequences or frightening scenes on screen, making this no sc-fi action and absolutely no sci-fi horror. But it is still a thriller and a drama, filled with messages in the core. A certain slow pace in the movie never really feels as we are too much interesting in the situation that is presented in this movie; sometimes one feel that it makes us more restless and unsettled. But whichever way the movie takes the turn, it keeps working so well. It keeps us engaged in the flick, and keeps providing us with those moments to memorize and think about. The twists in this movie are not heavily presented, but they are all result of some very clever work. As it moves towards a more haunting side, you will feel that this might be the best science fiction movie made without much of a heavy budget.
Soul exploration :: There are many messages in Ex Machina, and they can affect different people in different ways. Most of us are familiar about the Latin term “Deus ex machina” which means “god from the machine”. As I missed that during a literary quiz programme and this one will stay on my mind forever. It refers to a plot device by which a seemingly insolvable problem is solved all of a sudden by an unexpected thing – it is often a rather convenient method. Here, the title should mean “from the machine”. The movie deals with the insides of a machine here, with how the Artificial Intelligence makes the change, and brings something more out of a machine than what was expected of it. The one difference here is that it is the human who plays the God.
More soul exploration :: The problem in the movie arises from the human playing the role of God. He thinks that he can be in control all the time, but he just can’t do that. There are limitations to his abilities, and there are a few people who don’t really deserve to do such things. Man is no God and with power and money corrupting the brain, morality and any compassion takes the backseat. The robot here is not just a symbol of the specific character here, but that of a lot of people in the world who have restrictions imposed on them. Only a few people get lucky, and the rest are enslaved in one way or the other. The rich and the influential ones play God while the rest are made to be obedient robots. But if there will be change, and it might all be about one moment, just like Ava’s case.
How it finishes :: Ex Machina is the directorial debut of the man who wrote screenplay for 28 Days Later, Sunshine and the cult flick and favourite 2012 action movie Dredd. Here, we are provided with more questions than ever, about where humanity begins and ends, what is consciousness and how it can be defined, the influence of technology and its control over us, the limits which should be established – and many more. It is not something which you can hope to get with this much clarity as well as simplicity from the Hollywood movies. What this movie reminds me about is the 2011 Spanish psychological thriller movie, The Skin I Live In (La piel que habito) starring Antonio Banderas and Elena Anaya. Ex Machina leaves one with a similar feeling; there is no visible horror and moments to make you scream, but it provides that special unsettling feeling.
Release date: 10th April 2015
Running time: 108 minutes
Directed by: Alex Garland
Starring: Alicia Vikander, Domhnall Gleeson, Sonoya Mizuno, Oscar Isaac, Symara A. Templeman, Elina Alminas, Gana Bayarsaikhan, Tiffany Pisani, Claire Selby, Corey Johnson
@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.