I shall be studying the mechanisms of Ex Machina, examining its parts and judging its performance to see if it works well or runs out of energy. So read on only if you’ve already seen Ex Machina, or don’t plan to.
0:01:32 A ginger office drone (Domhnall Gleeson as Caleb) wins the staff lottery. The prize is a trip to see snow. If he isn’t paid, they should call the lottery ‘redundancy plan’.
0:04:28 He is dropped off by helicopter at a rich man’s manor. He enters the premises with an air of mystification, as though he’s never entered a building before.
0:11:18 Caleb meets Nathan (Oscar Isaac), a reclusive, ultra-rich Google founder type who’s the owner of the tech company Caleb works at. Nathan tells Caleb he’s working on A.I. (artificial intelligence) and needs Caleb to take the Turing test.
Nathan: So, do you know what the Turing Test is?
Caleb: Yeah, I know what the Turing Test is. It’s when a human interacts with a computer. And if the human doesn’t know they’re interacting with a computer, the test is passed.
Nathan: And what does a pass tell us?
Caleb: That the computer has artificial intelligence.
Artificial or genuine intelligence, I’ll be happy if this film has either.
Ava : Session 1
0:15:10 Caleb outsmarts the robot by boring it to death with talk of language acquisition. Even Nathan is bored and starts fiddling about with his post-it collection. I see why Caleb is single, and it has nothing to do with his being ginger.
0:15:31 Nathan and Caleb are drinking beer after the experiment.
Nathan: You know, I wrote down that other line you came up with. The one about how if I’ve invented a machine with consciousness, I’m not a man, I’m God.
Caleb: I don’t think that’s exactly what I…
Nathan: I just thought, ‘Fuck, man, that is so good.’ When we get to tell the story, you know? I turned to Caleb and he looked up at me and he said, “You’re not a man, you’re a god.”
Caleb: Yeah, but I didn’t say that.
The actual line was, “If you’ve created a conscious machine, it’s not the history of man. That’s the history of gods.”
I.T. geeks think just because they can fix a computer it makes them a deity.
0:18:02 It’s adorable how Caleb listens to 80s pop (Orchestral Manoeuvres In The Dark – Enola Gay) and brought shaving cream in case he needs to learn to shave while he’s there.
0:18:44 When discovering that the telly in his room is closed circuit TV and that the channels are just different cameras in the compound, Caleb promotes my website!
0:23:36 After a power failure that locked Caleb in his room at 2am, he enters a room where Nathan is drinking fancy beer and behaving like a douche. He’d make a good YouTube commenter.
0:24:08 A brunette (Sonoya Mizuno as Kyoko) delivers Caleb a breakfast tray to his room. I suspect she’s artificial. In the computer sense, not the Hampstead Garden Suburb / Rodeo Drive sense.
Ava : Session 2
0:26:01 The CGI female android is well put together.
0:28:04 Ava tells us Nathan’s company is called Blue Book, named after Wittgenstein’s notes. In this film, Blue Book is the world’s most popular search engine. So the Blue Book value is high, and maybe worth a googol.
0:29:36 Caleb tells us he has no parents, no siblings, no wife or girlfriend… Telling us immediately after that he likes programming is, therefore, not necessary.
0:31:36 Following another power cut, the surveillance cameras go off-line. During the blackout, Ava breaks character and tells Caleb that Nathan isn’t his friend, that Nathan’s lying to him and that he shouldn’t trust Nathan. If Caleb does believe this, it may well be because Ava has boobs. What do you call robot’s cleavage? The Silicon Valley.
I used to think it’s death and taxes you couldn’t avoid, but actually it’s death and shit.
Nathan whining about his first world problems.
Ava : Session 3
0:40:25 Ava asks Caleb out on a date to go to a busy intersection and people watch. She’s got a crush on him, and not of the compactor sort. Although…
0:43:09 Ava gets dressed for him. I shall refer to this as her ‘cloaking device’.
0:45:12 She tells Caleb she can tell from his micro expressions that he has feelings for her. This could prove troublesome, as she has the genitalia of a Barbie doll.
And in answer to your real question, you bet she can fuck.
Nathan to Caleb over a beer
I, literally, do not see how this is possible. I’ve seen her naked and she’s lacking the appropriate… ports. [NSFW Screen cap]
In between her legs, there’s an opening with a concentration of sensors. You engage them in the right way, it creates a pleasure response. So, if your wanted to screw her, mechanically speaking, you could. And she’d enjoy it.
I sit corrected. This demonstrates how little I know about computers.
Ava : Session 4
I’ve just realized that Caleb has fallen for Ava in three meetings. She’s a love machine.
0:53:32 Ava admits to causing the energy cuts with power surges so she and Caleb can interact without . Just like a woman: overcharging.
0:56:52 Alex Garland (the director) is making a big deal of Caleb’s shaving. It either represents something or it could truly be his first shave.
0:58:16 Caleb goes looking for Nathan and finds Kyoko. She silently begins disrobing, despite Caleb’s protests. Seems she wants to take cyber sex to a whole new level.
Ava : Session 5
1:07:22 It would seem Caleb is trying to get Nathan drunk in order to take advantage of him by stealing Ava and e-loping.
1:08:41 Nathan is as passed out as free condoms at a family planning clinic.
1:09:58 Caleb swipes Nathan’s key card to gain access to the computer and finds Nathan’s secret files of previous droids, one of them a sex machine.
1:11:24 Caleb discovers all the previous versions of the droids in a closet, just hanging around.
[NB. I’m convinced this shot is a reference to the story of Blue Beard.]
1:14:48 Caleb cuts himself with a razor to check that he’s not a robot himself. Or an emo teenage girl.
Ava :Session 6
1:16:52 Caleb plans an escape with Ava, by telling her he’ll get Nathan blind drunk yet again. So the same plan as every night. In fact, it’s no longer a plan but a bedtime routine.
1:19:18 Nathan says he’s going on the wagon…and not for a trip. This throws a spanner in the screwdriver.
1:26:01 Nathan explains that Caleb was only the cheese in the maze to see if Ava could find her way out. Caleb was chosen based on his search engine input and Nathan designed Ava’s face based on Caleb’s pornography profile. I don’t mind my pornography profile, but I prefer it head on.
1:27:48 Plot twist. Caleb had already programmed all the doors to open during a power outage when Nathan was drunk the last time. Now Ava is roaming the halls, doing a search, like Google…only slower and girlier.
1:28:38 Nathan prepares to fight the robots and knocks Caleb out. Like a girl with a spiked drink, Caleb goes down after one punch.
1:30:49 After Nathan knocks Ava’s arm off, Kyoko robot stabs him in the back. Et tu, brute?
[Kevin, a reader, pointed out in the comments section that this stabbing could be a nod to the 1946 film Bedlam, where a female inmate in an insane asylum kills the apothecary general with a stolen trowel.]
Ava : Session 7
1:36:08 Ava replaces her arm with one from a droid still in the closet, then peels off some of the skin and puts it on her own chassis. #Skinny
1:38:46 Lol, Ava leaves the building with Caleb still locked inside a room. She was only using him to secure her freedom. Female robots are so calculating.
1:41:34 Ava is airlifted out by the helicopter pilot who apparently doesn’t notice that he’s picking up a robot girl and not an adorable ginger twink. She’ll soon become used to being picked up.
Music from the credits: Savages – Husbands
- WTF!?’s: Only 2 errors
- When to Follow: A nice end of the evening film, especially if you like to think (and/or android boobs – for artificial milk?).
- Where’s This Found: Not action sci-fi, but why-fi. I liked the film when it ended, but have come to like it even more as I spend time with it for this review. The look of the androids is impressive, the acting is spot on, and there are some interesting philosophical questions posed here. Out of a possible 10, I have 8 F’s to give
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