Ex Machina tells the story of a young programmer whose selected to participate in a breakthrough experiment in artificial intelligence by evaluating the human qualities of a breathtaking female A.I.
Overall, I enjoyed the film. It didn’t bombard you with scientific or technological facts that we weren’t meant to understand and wasn’t laden with unnecessary effects. It relied heavily on performance and script. I enjoyed the film. To a point.
There were two major things that I had with Ex Machina. The first was that of the predictability of the plot and the second was the nudity.
The nudity aspect of the film might seem like a strange thing for me to comment on, especially coming from someone who reads and watches a wide range of films, including that of Blue Is The Warmest Colour and Game Of Thrones. If you’ve ever heard or read about this film//television show, you would know there’s a fair amount of sex and nudity within them. I usually try to block out or turn away when said scenes happen, but when nudity is so prevalent, it becomes slightly disturbing and in a sense ruins the film or show for me. It’s not the act of sex that is disturbing, it’s the nudity. The full frontal nudity. Is it so necessary to the story to have full frontalnudity, almost objectifying the woman in the scene, that you can’t do without it? And it’s not even full frontalfemale nudity that just bothers me either. It just happens to be that women are more often then not portrayed entirely naked in the majority of films. Each individual is entitled to their own opinion and this happens to be mine. If full frontal nudity makes me uncomfortable, then so be it.
Now that’s over and done with, I want to talk about the predictability of the story. I had a slight issue with how the film began, the introductory moments so brief, so quick, that we were thrust into the story mere seconds into the film. This can be considered a positive and negative thing. Obviously, the writer wants to get straight into the story without laboriously setting everything up like 2014’s Godzilla did, but it was a mere minute before we are thrust into the singular setting of Nathan’s (Oscar Isaac) residence. It seems that the majority of the plot points, turns, and shifts of the story were blatantly obvious and left nothing, really, for the audience to figure out. It might seem a bit harsh to compare Ex Machina to something like that of Interstellar, but there is something entirely different in how both Christopher Nolan and Alex Garland told their stories. For me, at least, when the final pieces of Interstellar were being stitched together, and the final turns told to the audience, it felt like a pleasant confirmation, or even surprise for some. At the end of Ex Machina, there was nothing. I felt nothing. Maybe it was the fact that I didn’t really believe the concept of an A.I., or even Ava’s character, truly caring for Caleb (Gleeson). Or the fact that I never trusted Nathan from the beginning, always finding him a bit strange, or the combination of nearly total alcoholism and “fitness ethic” ultimately strange. I’m not sure what it was, but all I know is that I just didn’t believe it.
Despite her nudity, Alicia Vikander, who plays A.I. Ava, is the most promising part of the film. I have praised her performance’s before (as can be seen in my Testament of Youth review) and again, she gives a convince performance and is able to tackle a wide range of characters with ease. She steals all scenes she’s in.
I can’t say I apologise for this not so glowing review that many other critics or viewers seem to give the film. The concept of Artificial Intelligence is heavy material to try and express in any form and I’m not sure of director Alex Garland dealt with it successfully.