For Reel

Ex Machina (2015)
May 20, 2015, 10:14 pm
Filed under: Reviews | Tags: , ,

Director: Alex Garland
4.5 Stars
Ex MachinaMuch of the dramatic action in Ex Machina hinges on the famed Turing Test, which suggests that if a human doesn’t know that they are talking to a machine, then it is reasonable to identify that machine as having intelligence. Ava (Alicia Vikander) is a prototypical A.I. that was engineered by Nathan (Oscar Isaac), a mogul who resides in a secluded modern retreat. Nathan invites Caleb (Domhnall Gleeson), a low level employee at his company, to his residence for the purpose of examining Ava and providing a report about whether or not she could be considered intelligent. Ava comes from a long line of posthuman females in contemporary science fiction films, and by the end of Ex Machina it becomes evident that writer Alex Garland is flirting with a sort of feminist rapture as much as he is the singularity. The film’s richest moments come when Nathan challenges Caleb to start considering the relationship that he’s developed with Ava. It is questioned if Ava feels a genuine affection for Caleb, or if she is simply “pretending” at it–that is, responding to his primal human emotions in a purely mechanical way designed to bring about the desired outcome. Is this not one of the chief anxieties in relationships of any sort? Does my partner love me, or are they playing at loving me? When the question is framed in that manner, the fact that Ava is a machine seems beyond the point. Like Gone Girl, this is a film very much about the risks one takes in forming any interpersonal relationship.

1 Comment so far
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Here I was, focused on identifying the robot as a sociopath like a Philip K Dick creation, and I totally missed the realism behind questioning one’s bond with a real partner. Nice conclusion!

Comment by Joe the Revelator

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