Just another Turing Test Tale: A Review of Ex Machina


The Gist of it: Adorably frail Caleb (Domhnall Gleeson, who you might recognize as Bill Weasley) is a computer programmer working for Bluebook, this universe’s Google, when he is chosen by the company for a mysterious project.  He arrives by helicopter to a mansion in the middle of the woods where he meets the owner of Bluebook, a short, bearded, leprechaun of a man named Nathan (played by Oscar Isaac).  Once there, Caleb discovers he is to administer a Turing test to the beautiful robot Ava (played by Alicia Vikander).  Eventually he falls in love with Ava, one thing leads to another, and she escapes, kills Nathan, and leaves Caleb locked in her cell.

Yes, but should I see it?: The sensual girl power of Ava might be the only thing going for this film.  Men are evil, and you should use all or your womanhood to conquer them.  But, despite its hip criticisms of our new Google-sponsored life, this film really brings nothing new to an already over-saturated field of Turing test tales.  Full of heavy handed philosophy 101 inspired monologues, this movie feels clunky throughout despite the exotic locale, and sleek apple store styling of Ava. The film has one twist.  Surprise, surprise, Ava isn’t the only robot there.  Is it Caleb? No.  Is it Nathan? No.  It’s the servant/maid, Kyoto, who never speaks and has sex with Nathan on his command.  It had honestly never occurred to me that that character was not not a robot.

Ex Machina
Ironically (or perhaps conveniently) Domhnall Gleeson, appears in another robo-drama, an episode of Black Mirror, “Be Right Back.” In that episode, he is the robot, and much more complicated issues about humanity, artificial intelligence, and love are taken on in only one hour instead of two. I recommend that episode over this movie. What? You haven’t seen any episodes of Black Mirror?  Netflix that shit!
If you really can’t get enough of Artificial Intelligence it’ll be worth a netflix view. But really, just watch Blade Runner, or I Robot, or 2001 A Space Odyssey, or Her.  

One thought on “Just another Turing Test Tale: A Review of Ex Machina

  1. This was the first film to ever remind me of Moxon’s Master by Ambrose Bierce where the conflict arose due to an unanticipated conformity to programming rather than balking.

    That, I think, is a far more terrifying aspect to AI; it destroys us, not as a rabid wolf, but a giant over-excited puppy which we can’t see as anything other than malicious.

    Fun review. 😀


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