Ex Machina

Rated: R

        I first came across Ex Machina back around the end of April, beginning of May 2015, when I was browsing around online, looking to see if there was anything interesting showing in theaters. This was the only thing that caught my attention at the time, but my husband didn’t share my enthusiasm for it. Therefore I had to wait until it came out on video to finally see it. I was very excited when it was finally available in stores and grabbed it right away. I don’t know why I wanted to see it so bad, but there was a definite draw. It was almost as if I’d been hypnotized and had the idea planted in my head that I must see this movie at (almost) all costs. So of course I bought it and rushed home immediately to watch it.
Ex Machina is a story about artificial intelligence, or AI. Caleb, a programmer at an internet search giant similar to Google, wins a contest to spend a week at the secret estate of his reclusive boss, Nathan. Upon his arrival Caleb finds out that he is to be the one to test whether Nathan has indeed created AI in a bot named Ava. As the tests begin Caleb is taken aback by just how human Ava is. But as Nathan’s behavior becomes more and more bizarre and the line between AI and human is blurred, Caleb realizes that he must act quickly save Ava from her inevitable dismantling and escape the crushing hold Nathan has on them both.
        In doing a little research for this piece I found two constants: #1: almost everyone, from critic to layperson, loves this movie. And #2: Because of the nature of the character’s relationships with one another, the way it was filmed and the wide open ending, people are spending entirely too much time trying to figure out what it all means! I found a multitude of articles and blog posts trying to figure out what motivation Nathan, and Ava had that would explain their behavior; or, after the wide open ending, what happens to Ava and Caleb. (I’m trying not to delve too far in so as not to spoil it all for you.) I even happened across an interview with writer/director Alex Garland and star Oscar Isaac where they give their interpretations of what it all means. I found this to be the most ridiculous of all that I came across. I mean, if the actors AND the writer/director of the movie don’t even fully know what it all means, then how are we, the viewers, supposed to have any hope?
         I personally didn’t find anything particularly deep or mysterious about
Ex Machina. To my husband and me everything seemed pretty straight forward, including the ending. Granted things did get a little confusing at times, but by the end we felt that it was all tied with a neat little bow. As far as the ending itself goes, we figure there are two possible outcomes, none of which is mysterious. Of course I won’t tell you what those outcomes are, but if you must know, feel free to Tweet me @LMovieLowdown.
        So by now I’m sure you’re wondering if
Ex Machina lived up to the hype I’d mentally given it and if my excitement to see it was warranted. To that my answer is a clear no, which of course is disappointing for me. If I had to sum up the whole thing in one word it would be “meh”. I guess this is just another of many that I can add to my long list of films other critics loved but I didn’t. Granted I didn’t hate it, but I certainly wouldn’t want to watch it more than once. The next question would be should you watch it? My advice to you would be if you love sci-fi, artificial intelligence or I just piqued your curiosity, go ahead. If you’re merely looking for something half way decent to watch to relax, or kill some time, don’t bother.

Ex Machina is rated R, was written and directed by Alex Garland and stars Domnhall Gleeson, Oscar Isaac, Alicia Vikander and Sonoya Mizuno. Its available now on Blu Ray, DVD and digital download.