Ex Machina

Ex Machina

So a Turing Test and a Voight-Kampff Machine walk into a bar—

"You're a God" (sounds great!) vs. "the history of Gods" (usually ends badly). If the male gaze creates life, that life might intuitively know how to use the male gaze against itself.

The film performs its two-way test on the viewer as well. Do we believe it? I'm not sure it's as convincing to us as Ava is to Caleb. But the turn at the end—Caleb waiting for Ava to change—was nicely delivered, and I had identified with Caleb's feelings enough that I, too, believed that Ava was coming back for him.

Lots of cool visual dimensions to think about; use of color, splitting the frame left/right, use of windows or lack thereof or windows replaced with screens or windows that become doors that become windows again. Favorite shot might be the left/right split where Ava is clear and dominant on the left side and Caleb is obscured through panes of glass, identity refracted across multiple surfaces. Or, the unexpected Chekhov's gun of Kyoko cutting sushi. Yum.

Speaking of, Gleeson and Vikander are pretty darn good and Isaac is just fearsome in everything, but special mention to Sonoya Mizuno. Can we make her the next Terminator?

I continue to think about the structure of this film—does it work better without the rat-in-maze thriller aspects, say if it were a more philosophical exploration of the questions at hand? I'm not sure. Sometimes the "who's gaming who" aspects of the film felt really flat, but in retrospect they seem to take on a certain dimension. This may warrant a second viewing, which is more than most modern sci-fi can really lay claim to. For now, I'll content myself with GIFs of Mizuno and Isaac dancing.

Dara K. liked these reviews