Thursday, May 28, 2015

Jason Watches EX MACHINA

This is an excellent, intimate sci-fi thriller. Caleb, a programmer, wins a competition to work with the big boss on super-secret project in his remote mountain home/fortress. There he finds everything controlled by computers, and his boss Nathan is a hard-drinking "bro-grammer" with an intense, controlling personality. He quickly reveals that the project is A.I., and Caleb is there to administer the Turing Test to his latest creation, an android named Ava. Their pleasant, even playful conversations take on a dark edge when Ava warns Caleb not to trust Nathan (which seems kind of obvious from the get-go, he's definitely got his secrets and his ulterior motives.) So a cat and mouse game unfolds...no, wait, there's three people involved, so a cat, mouse, and other cat? Cat, mouse, and other mouse? I don't know. Since his job is evaluating whether Ava is really intelligent or just fooling him, Caleb's conversations with Nathan tend to run towards the mechanics of manipulation (e.g., Ava's femininity could be a deliberate distraction, much like the magician's hot assistant) which of course mirrors what's going on in the film, just not in the way you might expect. As far as special effects...Ava is the special effect, and incredibly well done, with a see-through lower torso revealing her inner workings. But it really isn't a special-effects driven movie. It's a smart, story-and-character-based sci-fi thriller. Pretty awesome.

Also, minor spoiler (and probably unwarranted social commentary): the movie could work as a metaphor for the current state of the tech industry, where it's ruled by an aggressive, bro-grammer douchebag, there's one nice-but-powerless guy, and all the women are literally objects.

Running Time: 108 minutes
My Total Minutes: 396,921

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