A big thing that I’ve wanted to do for 2016 to help keep my head on straight and to keep myself from feeling overwhelmed (here and in other areas of my life) is to get around to things I’ve been putting off. Whether that’s real life things, like prioritizing my finances, cleaning out my closets, running every day, not just every other day, or fandom related things like catching up on comics and prose reading, or social things like making an effort to see my friends and leave the house (this WHILE managing the finances is probably the most interesting.) So, if you’ll notice over on Facebook, every week I’m prioritizing “things I’m getting around to,” and this week’s big one was “watching Ex Machina.”
I haven’t stopped thinking about the movie since I finished it on Friday night.
Ex Machina is a film I should have seen earlier, but I just kept putting it off. So, I decided to just watch it and I’m really glad I did. The movie asks uncomfortable questions about human, technology, consciouness and in case you were wondering, the way men see women.
It’s not a coincidence that the only two human characters in this film are men. It’s not a coincidence that Nathan, the tech mogul played by Oscar Isaac has chosen to create an AI in the form of a beautiful young woman. It’s not a coincidence that Caleb, the programmer played by Dohmnall Gleeson, brought in to Turing Test the “system” (known as Ava and played wonderfully by Alicia Vikander) falls for her so quickly. This film is saying something about control, about fantasy, about how men want to control women. About how women refuse to be controlled.
I still don’t know exactly what it’s saying and I definitely want to revisit it…but not yet.
The best parts of Ex Machina are the twists and surprises, so I won’t say much more. It’s a fascinating and unsettling film. And it is masterfully acted, the performances (particularly Gleeson and Isaac) are natural and engrossing at the same time. You believe that these are men who might exist. And Vikander is stunning, engaging and just a hair over into inhuman as Ava. It’s an exceptional performance.
Overall, I was impressed, and glad I decided to check it out. Ex Machina is not in my usual line up of stuff I like or would check out, but expanding my horizons and pushing out of my comfort zone isn’t just going to apply to travel, food and exercise this year for me, it’s also applying to the kind of media I’m consuming. I figured this was a good place to start (genre trappings I’m comfortable with, themes that fascinate me and an actor I have a massive crush on…you know safe things for an outside the box choice…)