Ex Machina (Alex Garland, 2015, USA)

Ex Machina

A relatively imaginative undertaking of a not so original concept: artificial intelligence. The interesting difference is that notions of artificial intelligence are placed in the background of a truly more archaic humanity/morality piece.

The film establishes tropes and techniques in the thriller genre to create an exciting, action-filled, story arc which simply does a disservice to any and all intriguing ideas of consciousness, artificial intelligence, and human morality held in the film.

Ex Machina manipulates the viewer by using these cinematic techniques such as special effects and sound to divert one’s attention. It focuses far too heavily on controlling the viewer’s emotional experience. For example, due to cinematic elements, Nathan (Oscar Isaac) is regarded as a creep, a villain, etc.. What else is a viewer to think when the camera slowly closes up on him, drunk and in the darkness, while eerie music fills the background.

Such techniques are used to keep the viewer in a certain position in order to be able to surprise them later. When character intentions are revealed and the viewer realizes something is very different from how it first appeared, it is more exciting. Through these means, the film manages moderately to captivate and entertain, but surely it does not achieve anything beyond this, and thus will long be forgotten in time to come.

68/100 – Decent.

2.5 star



About Kamran Ahmed

I have a Masters in Cinema Studies from the University of Toronto. I work as a freelance writer and film critic in Vancouver. My writing is primarily distributed through Next Projection, an online film journal based in Toronto.
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