Friday, February 5, 2016

Ex Machina - 2 nominations

Visual Effects, Andrew Whitehurst, Paul Norris, Mark Ardington and Sara Bennett
Original Screenplay, Alex Garland

Ex Machina is a fascinating film in which Caleb, a young and brilliant computer programmer wins a contest to spend the weekend with his reclusive but genius boss at the boss' home in the remote wilderness. The boss is a Steve Jobs type who guards his secrets rigorously, and it is revealed that he created this contest so he could identify someone smart enough to come and test the next version of high level technology he has created - a robot woman who appears to be sentient.

People watching last year's Oscar nominees will remember the name Alan Turing, about which the film The Imitation Game was based.  Turing famously developed a test of a "machine's ability to exhibit intelligent behavior equivalent to, or indistinguishable from, that of a human." (Thank you Wikipedia for that definition.)  In this film, Caleb is brought to devise whether the robot Ava can pass a Turing test.

What a fascinating story and the characters (including the robots) are very well drawn and so sympathetic or interesting that the ending is only satisfying because it is logical, but dissatisfactory because the film is finished.  I am certain that I could have watched film again on a loop immediately after it ended.  There are some slow paced parts, but everything about Ex Machina is thought provoking and engaging in a way that overrides any slow moments.  In addition, the visual effects are stunning and provide a way for us to genuinely believe that the actress playing Ava (Alicia Vikander) is actually a robot.  Without those impressive effects, the movie would lose all authenticity.

I'm a big fan of this film, and I highly encourage you to see it.

1 comment:

  1. This is a great review. Personally, though, I'm torn on this film (and admittedly in the minority) as I thought it was boring until the end. You kind of knew bad things would happen and from whom, and they did... but the ending was a decent twist, even if it was playing fast and loose with the set-up of the whole film (I don't believe the zeitgeist-feminist retake on this, that the story is really about the female robot...)