Sunday, May 10, 2015

Ex Machina (2015)

EX MACHINA somehow remained off my radar until it opened. Then it hit with tons of great reviews and friends telling me it was a must see and I was left to drool at a potentially great film floating out of reach. However things conspired that I had two hours to kill when I was standing in front of a theater so I went in and saw it.

The film has a young man at a Google like company winning a week with the company founder. He thinks it’s the coolest thing in the world. When he gets there the weekend hang out turns into something else. It seems he’s been chosen to run a Turing Test on a human like robot in order to determine if true artificial intelligence has been achieved. However there is more to it than that.

Good three hander of a film is for the most part a solid little exploration about what it means to be human or conscious. The film hits all of the right notes ad makes a familiar story seem new and entertaining.

I really like the film but to be honest I’m not sure about where the massive love the film is coming from. Yes it looks great, yes the performances, particularly by Oscar Isaac and Alicia Vikander are incredible but this is not anything completely new. Films like THE MACHINE have examined similar ideas. Is my feeling the result of being a science fiction fan who’s run across this sort of story before or is it because the film isn’t that great? I don’t know.

I know there are a couple of bumps in the plotting that work against it. I’m going to get a bit spoilery here so if you don’t want to know skip the next paragraph.

It’s clear that Oscar Isaac is up to something other than what he claims from the start. Things are too awkward, and you’re quickly set on edge. Then there's the fact Ava says her power comes through her feet. Even assuming that’s she’s good anywhere in the house, how does she continue to function when she goes outside? What will happen to her when her battery runs down? Lastly, if the security system is set to open the doors when there is a power outage, how does the room end up locked at the end? It makes no sense. The game playing and continued one upsmanship amongst the leads are also problematic. I really wish writer/director Alex Garland had not let the story go naturally instead of putting in these plot twists.

(Spoilers end)

None of the bumps are fatal on their own but taken together they take what could have been a great film and reduce it to a good one.

Still it's thought provoking enough to be worth your time, if not in theaters then when it's released for home viewing.

No comments:

Post a Comment