Harvard student Mark Zuckerberg creates the social networking site that would become known as Facebook, but is later sued by two brothers who claimed he stole their idea, and the co-founder who was later squeezed out of the business.
After a stint in a mental institution, former teacher Pat Solitano moves back in with his parents and tries to reconcile with his ex-wife. Things get more challenging when Pat meets Tiffany, a mysterious girl with problems of her own.
David O. Russell
Robert De Niro
Caleb, a 26 year old programmer at the world's largest internet company, wins a competition to spend a week at a private mountain retreat belonging to Nathan, the reclusive CEO of the company. But when Caleb arrives at the remote location he finds that he will have to participate in a strange and fascinating experiment in which he must interact with the world's first true artificial intelligence, housed in the body of a beautiful robot girl. Written by
Ex Machina's plot is a loose adaptation of William Shakespeare's play "The Tempest," and each of the film's three main characters are roughly analogous to characters from the play. Nathan (Oscar Isaac), a powerful, manipulative inventor who lives in a remote resort, is similar to Prospero, a powerful magician who lives on a remote island and who manipulated the events and characters in the story to his liking. Though Nathan is a computer programmer and artificial intelligence pioneer, not a magician, his parallels to Prospero are a nod to Arthur C. Clarke's famous dictum that "any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic." Ava (Alicia Vikander) is analogous to Miranda, Prospero's daughter; both Miranda and Ava were created by Prospero/Nathan and neither has been exposed to experiences or people outside of their respective confines. Caleb (Domhnall Gleeson) is equivalent to Ferdinand--in both the play and the movie, the Prospero character contrives to bring Caleb/Ferdinand to his isolated and remote home, and in both cases the Caleb/Ferdinand character falls in love with the Prospero character's daughter (or "daughter," in Ex Machina). See more »
In an analogy, Nathan says that Caleb should pretend he's "Star Trek's" Captain Kirk and "Engage (his) intellect." However, it was not Star Trek's Kirk, but rather Captain Jean Luc Picard of "Star Trek: The Next Generation" who was known for speaking the command, "Engage!" See more »
How long until we get to his estate?
We've been flying over his estate for the past 2 hours.
See more »
Written by Thompson, Hassan, Milton & Camille Berthomier (as Berthomier)
Performed by Savages
Published by BMG Rights Management (UK) Ltd, a BMG Chrysalis Company (c) 2013
Courtesy of POP Noire Records
Used with permission.
All rights reserved. See more »
Ex Machina has a simple story dealing with a deeply complex and philosophical topic: namely what makes humans human.
The increasingly omnipresent Oscar Isaac plays billionaire Nathan Bates, genius creator of 'Google' - my mistake - 'BlueBook', the world's "leading search engine". Bates lives in the middle of the American wilderness (in reality, a very picturesque Norway) and in a property that actually exists (BlueBook the Juvet Hotel). He is leading a one-man research project into the development of an Artificial Intelligence. Leading neatly on from the recent Cumbur-busting "The Imitation Game" the eccentric and erratic Nathan needs to share his work with someone external in order to perform 'The Turing Test' - the test to determine if a machine can genuinely pass itself off as human to another human.
Domhnall Gleeson' character (Caleb) works for BlueBook and wins the Wonka Golden Ticket to spend a week with Nathan, becoming the human side of the test. Ava is the beautiful and seductive android subject and the film clinically walks through the sessions between Caleb and Ava, watched over by Nathan via the villa's comprehensive CCTV system. The only other significant character in the film is Nathan's house maid Kyoko (Sonoya Mizuno), who neither understands nor speaks English so drifts silently around offering various 'services'.
We have been here before: Ridley Scott's "Blade Runner" and Spielberg's "AI" both covered similar ground, but in perhaps a less claustrophobic manner than Ex Machina. This serves the story well, ramping up the tension as an age old Sci-fi plot-point emerges (as covered by the trailer): how will a sentient machine feel about having its plug pulled. (No rain or doves are included in this one).
The acting is all up to snuff, with Isaac - this time hiding behind a Brian Blessed-style bushy beard - looking and acting for all the world like George Clooney. Domhnall Gleeson ("About Time", "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows" and getting all the roles that Paul Bettany is now too old for) makes the journey well from nice but naive employee to a much more world-wise freedom-fighter. Swedish-born Alicia Vikander, currently also leading in "Testament of Youth", is deliciously sensual as Ava (albeit - and trust me to notice this - that her significant assets seem to vary in size during the movie). She is also an excellent actress, having to reflect a wide range of emotions through little else than her eyes.
I really enjoyed this film. However, that is on the basis that Science Fiction is one of my favourite genres: I can see some audiences finding the philosophical plotting too slow and wordy to hold their interest. But if you like your films deep and thought-provoking, as well as deliciously tense in places, then this might be for you.
The writer and director is Alex Garland, and this is actually his impressive directorial debut. He is of course best known as a writer, having penned the novel of "The Beach" and the screenplays for films including "28 Days Later", "Sunshine" and "Never Let Me Go". Also hats off to the special effects crew (led by Richard Conway) since Ava is a miracle of visual effects. The effective keyboard score is by Geoff Barrow and Ben Salisbury.
The film pleasingly doesn't outstay its welcome, also leaving some loose ends to ponder on after the lights come on and the screeching credits song (sorry, but it's just AWFUL!) drives you from the auditorium. Also be aware that for those offended by full frontal female nudity, or indeed those that enjoy it, that there is a good deal of it in this film. (Lads, practise the excuse now: "But it's fine dear - - she's not a naked women she's a robot!").
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