Ex Machina

  • Title: Ex Machina
  • Director: Alex Garland
  • Cast: Domhnall Gleason, Alicia Vikander, Oscar Isaac


Caleb Smith (Domhnall Gleeson) a programmer at a huge Internet company, wins a contest that enables him to spend a week at the private estate of Nathan Bateman (Oscar Isaac), his firm’s brilliant CEO. When he arrives, Caleb learns that he has been chosen to be the human component in a Turing test to determine the capabilities and consciousness of Ava (Alicia Vikander), a beautiful robot. However, it soon becomes evident that Ava is far more self-aware and deceptive than either man imagined.

(from Google)


I wouldn’t consider myself to be a heavy fan of science fiction; too often, it’s films rely too heavily on the spectacle of its technology and machinery and less on the character development to propel and balance its ideas. Ex Machina, however is a masterful look at artificial intelligence and man’s attempts to control it to devastating effects.

I can’t say that I truly understand the movie; after all, I’ve seen it but once and am still awake trying to process its ideas.

Caleb and Nathan are at the central characters of this story, along with Ava, the A.I. robot. Each man seeks to prove whether or not Ava can embody human awareness and consciousness. However, this is where their similarities end. Nathan seems to believe that Ava is only acting upon what she has been programmed to do, a talking robot to do his bidding and nothing more. Caleb understands her hardware but seems to lean into the nurture believe; that with training Ava can think and act for herself.

Little do they know that they are both right and wrong with devastating consequences. Nathan realizes that what he has created is autonomous and will use her programming to get what she wants: freedom. Caleb realizes to his loss that technology can be used against him if he forgets that it really is just technology that needs to be reigned in. If that makes sense.

It kind of makes me think of our relationship with technology. It’s fast paced and more advanced than some of us can ever truly grasp and if we start dappling in it without understanding or appreciating it for what it is, then the technology will take the upper hand and defeat us.

I don’t know if I’ve truly understood what I watched; it’s beautiful and disturbing all at once. I was impressed with Ava and was initially charmed by her, almost sorry for her. But something didn’t feel right as it went in until it was revealed as to why I was so disturbed. Ava has been learning from her humans and manipulating them until she was able to get who she wanted and that to be is scary. Can our technology become this advanced in real life so that we don’t know the difference between humans and A.I.? It’s disturbing to think about and I’m not sure I want to long enough to find out.

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