When I first saw the trailer for Ex Machina, it immediately caught my interest. The concept of AI is always fascinating to me, and it looked like this movie was going to put a dark, original twist on it. Now that I’ve seen it, I can report that it is a beautiful mind-frak of a movie through and through.
The basic premise of the movie is that Caleb (Domhnall Gleeson) is a programmer at a Google-like company called Blue Book. He wins a contest/lottery to spend a week with the CEO, Nathan (Oscar Isaac), at his private compound on an island who knows where. Nathan has been secretly working on AI robots, and wants Caleb to help him test if his creation, Ava (Alicia Vikander) acts real enough to pass as human.
The thing that stuck out to me most about this movie were the awkward interactions. Caleb doesn’t know how to talk to Nathan. To him, it’s an employer/employee situation. Nathan would prefer for him to think of them as two people working together as equals, friends even. He agrees to this, but the awkwardness never really goes away.
There’s an even higher level of awkwardness when Caleb starts talking with Ava. He knows she’s a machine. She knows she’s a machine as well. He treats her like a machine, talking in a manner like you would talk to Siri on your phone. Unlike with Nathan though, as time progresses, he bonds with Ava, and their conversations grow more natural in flow.
There were numerous times in the movie where I thought I had things figured out, and was very happy when I did not. A couple major things go slightly different than I expected, and the creativeness made the movie a lot more satisfying as a result.
From the trailer alone, I could tell this was going to be a dark movie. It boldly makes you think about what it is to be human, and shows you that you might not be happy with your conclusion. Don’t let this dissuade you from possibly seeing it though. Ex Machina is intense, engaging, and entertaining. I highly recommend seeing this one in the theater. It’s well worth the ticket price.
Ex Machina is now in theaters.