Ex Machina – Film Review by Guttman

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Ex Machina: an expertly done artificial intelligence themed film.
The movie opens with a software company employee winning an employer sponsored contest. The employer is a Google-like search engine company owned by an individual named Nathan, sales played by Oscar Isaac. Employee Caleb (Domhnall Gleeson) wins the contest and gets to spend a week with Nathan. The next sequence shows Caleb flying via helicopter to Nathan’s estate. Caleb asks the pilot how much longer until they arrive. The response is that they have been flying over the estate for the past hour. We learn that Nathan’s home is also his laboratory and research facility. We also learn that Nathan has created Ava, unhealthy a strikingly beautiful female A.I. being. Nathan wants Caleb to assist him in testing Ava to find out whether she really can think for herself. The central concept of this film is the Turing test: If you don’t know you are talking to a computer, prescription would you think the computer is an intelligent being? For most of the movie there are only four characters, with the 4th character being Kyoko (Sonoya Mizuno), who is the cook and Nathan’s sleep mate. By stepping beyond just a voice, as in Her, writer and director Alex Garland establishes a more intricate A.I. character and a more complex film. During the film’s 110 minutes, a fascinating set of relationships develop. Part of the reason the film works so well rests with Ava. Alicia Vikander is superb. The film causes question as to whether the development of artificial intelligence is a good idea. This is Garland’s first directorial. I think we will see more. I found the film to be fascinating and enjoyable.

Steven Guttman
BLOG: guttmansgarage.blogspot.com

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