Movie Review: Ex Machina

Not really sure what to do with my night, I decided to watch Ex Machina, which is a movie I know absolutely nothing about.

“A young programmer is selected to participate in a ground-breaking experiment in synthetic intelligence by evaluating the human qualities of a breath-taking humanoid A.I.”

I think that I am absolutely stunned by this movie and I’m glad I had no knowledge of it before watching it. I sometimes think and feel that previews ruin movies and I imagine that any preview I could have seen for this movie might have given away plot points or character arcs and I’m much better off for having known absolutely nothing about the movie before watching it. I think my lack of knowledge made the movie more suspenseful and more intriguing. This was also one of the very few movies that made me feel very stupid, which is also a very good thing. The discussions about programming and artificial intelligence and how all that works were just detailed enough to feel authentic and not so much that I had no clue what Caleb and Nathan were talking about.

There’s a lot of really advanced stuff in this movie. Programming, coding, linguistics stuff. And a lot of really in-depth stuff about interpersonal relationships and communications. It’s not very often that a movie makes me feels stupid. Or confused about what I’m watching. I didn’t know if this movie was supposed to be horror or sci-fi or a comedy or a drama or what. This movie was very dark, quiet, and creepy, but all in the best ways.

One of the most intellectually interesting parts of the movie for me was the discussion on heterosexuality. And additional thoughts on sexuality in general. Which brings up the portrayal of women in this movie. Obviously, Ava is an Artificial Intelligence (A.I.) and Caleb’s role in the movie is to function as the human component of the Turing test. Caleb is specifically chosen by Nathan to participate in this test, for reasons that are clearly identified later in the movie but which I won’t reveal here in case someone is reading this movie review and wants to have as little about the plot and characters revealed as possible. Nathan also specifically creates Ava to be attractive because, as the quotes I linked to indicate, creating “something” perceived to be attractive increases the odds of “its” functionality, usefulness, and empathic responses in the humans.

This movie is extremely manipulative in the sense that it highlights a lot of ethical and moral dilemmas concerning life, the value of life, men who play gods, and what it means to discover the world for yourself. I’m glad I watched this movie and overall, I would say that it’s at least a solid three on my rating scale. I’m not sure how much I will rewatch this movie in the future, as it was uncomfortable in how manipulative the characters were and how well done this movie was concerning setting the tone and making me take a really long look at society. Plus, I have my own baggage with the movie, as Ava looks a lot like someone I used to know but still care about greatly. So overall, it’s a great movie and because it messed with me so much, I have no idea how I feel about watching it again in the future. Which kind of says a lot of how well this movie was done.

About C.A. Jacobs

Just another crazy person, masquerading as a writer.
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