Wednesday, October 11, 2017

What's Next On My List? Ex Machina

I need to share that this movie was the most bizarre experience. Here is why: I knew nothing about this movie. Not the actors, not the story, I have not seen a single trailer or even a poster for it, which is weird in retrospect, but it made me realize something: since I don't watch TV, since I don't go through channels randomly, I am never surprised. There is no excitement to the things I watch. I purposely don't watch trailers for TV shows, because a one minute trailer can ruin a 40 minute episode easily... but there is a continuity to a series that can't get me excited the way a movie used to. The fact that I refused to look up anything before watching this movie was the best thing I could have possibly done!

Caleb, a programmer at a major company, wins a trip at the house of his boss, where he finds out that he was chosen to perform the Turing test on an AI. Ava is the name of the robot, and Nathan, her creator, take Caleb on a very emotional journey. Nathan has qualities about him that make Caleb question his morals, whilst the purity of Ava enchants him. In the end, all three just wish to become survivors of this eventful week, but not all make it.

Yes, my sci-fi class likes to dig deep and oh my god this movie... it was brilliant truly, this means that there are a lot of questions I had to ask myself while watching it. Just based on all the things that my teacher made me read all over the years, I need to say right away that sci-fi, especially post apocalyptic sci-fi, loves to play with the boundaries of morality. This story in particular really went all out on that regard and you are sitting there wondering what the hell you just saw, followed by a series of questions that would arise if you ever found yourself in a similar situation. To start off with, I can't pinpoint what it is, but I loved both guys. I think they were written perfectly, these two guys exist out there. This element of reality made the story all more accessible and believable and... more scary. After watching it my sister and I started to talk about it and we were trying are hardest to understand the ending. She, having seen the film already, tried to watch it from the Ava, the AI's point of view. If we are looking at this as a story of survival of the fittest, then really, the ending is perfect, as the strongest did get out alive.
But was this story really about that? I have huge problems with Caleb being left behind. We discussed that he might have been saved, not returning from the trip will raise eyebrows even if Nathan liked to keep to himself. Nonetheless, what was the point? I mean really. I understand that he was a pawn in her game, I understand that she was programmed to survive by any means necessary and she did just that. I remember that it was Caleb's visions of her being free in which they were together and not hers. Nonetheless, he was an idiot... I'm sorry to say, but he was an idiot. And I would go as far as to say that Ava did not pass the Turing test. The idea would be to forget that you are talking to a computer, or not be aware of it, but I strongly believe that Caleb fell in love with her as she is. His mind was clouded to begin with. Being an IT guy himself, he could've just as easily fallen for the technology and the finesse of it, not the personality or the girl Ava pretended to be.
I would like to devote a paragraph to Nathan. Yes, the idea of the AI alone deserves a whole dissertation, as I am sure there have been written many on it. I remember my sister asking why doesn't Caleb question Ava, and my answer was that she has already given him a villain. Ava says that Nathan is a liar, and Caleb finds out on his own and he really is up to no good. He likes to play God, he makes jokes about it, he is so smart that the only thing he can turn to to slow things down is alcohol. In his right mind he is dangerous, but once drunk, he is useless. My sister said and I agree with her that this tortured genius is a peculiar but very believable character. Someone who can have anything money can buy and he turns his knowledge into something designed to entertain himself.
Of course we find out that Ava was not the first successful experiment. I strongly believe that he designed these robots for something completely different, and then thought, hey, I can add brain to it. It became a quest of doing something nobody has ever done just because he can. I believe that nothing is more dangerous than people going around doing things just because they can. That is what makes Nathan a villain, and that is what made Ava in the end a villain too. She wishes to see an intersection, to see the people, and she does and I don't know what I was meant to feel in that moment. Be happy for her? Remember this was her wish? Think that she was not lying, she really did long for earthly things? Maybe all of those, but I did not feel the happy ending and the peace that came with this last scene because I did not agree with her choice to leave Caleb  behind in the first place.

Watch it? I definitely will in a couple of years, because just like my sister, I want to see it with experienced eyes. See if my opinion changes. See if I understand something new, notice something else. It is a peculiar story, but it is effective for the degree of reality. The movie has a good pacing that it keeps till the end and the music makes you shiver in your seat. The question of morals needs a bigger discussion than this blog entry would permit, but if anyone cares, we can continue this discussion in the comment section below!

Until the next item on my list!
_ _ _ _ _ 

Nathan - Oscar Isaac


  1. Greetings from the UK. I enjoyed reading.

    Thank you. Love love, Andrew. Bye.

  2. Thanks for providing good information,Thanks for your sharing.