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MOVIE REVIEW | Ex Machina

When people play god, there's a bunch of things that can go terribly wrong.

This is the classic case of science fiction: when a person or a group of people aim for the ultimate scientific goal of creating life. Examples of shows and literature with this theme are Frankenstein, Splice, AI, Fullmetal Alchemist, and one I most recently watched, Ex Machina.


{MAJOR SPOILERS AHEAD!}


You have been warned.

Plot

It all started when Caleb won the company lottery. 
If it said "SALARY RAISE" maybe Caleb would insanely jump for joy.
The first prize would let Caleb go to his boss's estate and stay there for a week... and maybe give him a chance for promotion later on... One can only wish...

The pilot said, "We've been flying over his estate for the last two hours."
I'd flip out!
Caleb found out how outrageously rich his boss is. He flew in a helicopter to his property. The said property contains a huge glacier, rivers, forest, grasslands, and a very posh high-tech mansion carved on the side of the mountain.

Even a high-tech mansion can't get a decent photo.
Caleb then meets a sweaty bearded man who was in the middle of doing his morning workout. That guy is the owner of the company he works in, Nathan. 

This is what the boss does with the company money. Tsk. *kidding*
What Nathan thought was some sort of vacation and maybe quality time to earn a promotion was actually another sort of a job. Bummer!

He later realizes that he was chosen to be part of Nathan's experiment. He was to administer a Turing Test to Nathan's latest robot creation, Ava.

Ava: Are you attracted to me?
Caleb: ...

This must be really uncomfortable for guys to answer.
Caleb meets with Ava everyday to administer the Turing test. How does it work? He asks her questions then observes how she responds. He's aware that she is a robot, but she's so convincing as a human. She even asked him for a date in the middle of a busy pedestrian intersection.


Review


There is neither a hero or a villain here, in my opinion. The characters are complex, as we can expect for humans. It's easy to peg Nathan (Oscar Isaac) as the antagonist because he is the creator of the robots and also cause of their destruction. Likewise, Caleb (Domhnall Gleeson) instantly becomes the hero because of his vulnerability and sensitivity. Ava (Alicia Vikander) is just too dangerously convincing.

The longer Caleb stayed, the more he discovered about Nathan's experiments. As Caleb struggled to keep his feelings and sanity in check, Nathan and Ava remained focused to their respective goals: Nathan's quest to produce a lifelike AI, and Ava's pursuit of freedom. 

Your assistant just showed me her true self.
Now I question my pitiful existence.
Even if Nathan wasn't a complete jerk, Caleb refuses to believe him after everything he's seen. Instead, Caleb decided to help Ava and that decision led him to his demise.

While the scenes on the last third of the movie were hard to watch, we can always recall the place where the movie was filmed. 

I would also like a house near giant lumps of ice.
Look at that view!

The effects succeeded in making the movie thrilling without being gory or messy. Combined with the already beautiful film set, it was fascinating to watch.


Recommendation

First of all, this movie contains nudity, so I wouldn't recommend it to children or teens. Aside from nudity, there is also some violence and foul language.

Ex Machina not your typical robot-kills-human kind of movie although that's basically what happened here. The robot defeated the humans by first thinking as a human. It's a complex story.

I've been reading comments about this movie and some people just cannot comprehend the whole story. They question the ending too much without even understanding the details, actually clues, all throughout the movie. Some would even associate the turn of events to women being evil, using their charms over men to get what they want. That statement is unfair and is only partly true to attractive women.


If you would watch this movie, my advice is that you keep your feelings within reasonable limits and never get too carried away like Caleb did.

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