Let’s be honest: the Domhnall Gleeson/Oscar Isaac film people are most anticipating in 2015 is probably Star Wars: The Force Awakens. But coming in second place, there’s Alex Garland’s Ex_Machina, a little sci-fi film that appears to have been built using blueprints written by the likes of Isaac Asimov and Fritz Lang. (Think less space opera, more speculative fiction.)
The film focuses on the power dynamics between Nathan (Isaac) and Caleb (Gleeson); the former is the alpha male CEO of the world’s largest Internet company, the latter a coder working in said company. Caleb wins a competition to stay for a week at the reclusive Nathan’s secluded mountainside retreat, but the young programmer finds that the competition is actually part of an experiment involving a newly created artificial intelligence.
That would be Ava (Alicia Vikander, The Fifth Estate), who we see meet Caleb for the first time in the above clip from the film. They’re introduced after a “Turing test” (the invention of which is depicted in The Imitation Game), a blind evaluation that can determine a machine’s ability to exhibit intelligent behavior akin to that of a human. Ava, as it were, makes a clever foil to the Turing test; no matter how human she may be in consciousness, she’s unmistakably a robot.
And that’s all part of Garland’s scheme. Speaking with Yahoo! Movies, the screenwriter-turned director talked about his approach to bringing Ava to life and how her form impacts Ex_Machina‘s themes. Here’s the full quote from Garland:
“The key thing is that you present her as beautiful, elegant and strange, but most of all you present her as a machine. You begin with something you wouldn’t attribute sentience to, and then show that it’s there.”
The above clip can be seen, in brief, in Ex_Machina‘s first trailer, though the sequence is far more wondrous and haunting when played out in full. It’s incredibly simple, too – only a handful of words are spoken here (and they’re pretty basic as far as greetings go) yet, at the same time, the entire bit has enormous gravity and feels very, very loaded.
If anything, it’s clear that Garland has properly transitioned from writing to directing – following his work on such films as 28 Days Later and Dredd (among others) – and met his stated goal just from an aesthetic perspective. How this sequence ends up playing out in the larger Ex_Machina story is another matter, but looks are important here (and also potentially deceiving).
Ex_Machina hits US theaters April 10th, 2015.
Source: Yahoo! Movies