The evolution of technology is met on a constant basis with a series of questions and, often times, resistance. Sometimes, in order to truly make some great leaps, we must isolate and explore in an uninterrupted environment. ‘Jurassic Park’ and ‘Resident Evil’ are great examples of this. So in 2014, director/writer Alex Garland took a stab at a new approach to the evolution of artificial intelligence.
A young programmer named Caleb has been selected to participate in a ground-breaking experiment in synthetic intelligence by evaluating the human qualities of a highly advanced humanoid A.I. He is selected to go to his company’s CEO’s private island and spend a week to observe and offer feedback. At first, things seem too good to be true and the CEO is an eccentric personality. But as anxieties rise and the AI named Ava begins to spew some secrets about the owner, Caleb begins to question everything surrounding him.
The movie is a gorgeous film shot in beautiful, dark green forests. The house is advanced and has some beautiful set design. Ava is designed to replicate a human, but only enough qualities to display its humanity while still having a mostly robotic exoskeleton. She begins to flirt with Caleb, and as frequent power outages occur, she tells him secrets and theories that begin to unravel everything he knows about this place, this scientist, and his role in this experiment. Not only is she entirely aware of what she is and what is happening to her, but when she uncovers the history and future of what has been in store for her she decides that she needs to take matters into her own hands.
It’s a fun film with the usual wag-of-the-finger with warnings and expectations that are fulfilled and simultaneously creative enough to keep you guessing. For a mad scientist film, it’s one of the best in recent years. Alex Garland would go on to direct ‘Annihilation’ and continue with his theme of questioning humanity as an entity, and this is a great addition to that canon.
“Ex Machina” is currently streaming on Hulu, Amazon Prime, and Showtime.
‘Til Next Time,
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