WTF: Ex Machina (2015)

ex machina 16 (WTF Watch The Film Saint Pauly)

ex machina 01 poster (WTF Watch The Film Saint Pauly)

Spoiler Alert:

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.

Watch EX MACHINA here

ex machina 07 (WTF Watch The Film Saint Pauly)
It takes balls to make robots

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.

ex machina 03 (WTF Watch The Film Saint Pauly)
Looking for the exit in IKEA

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

0:12:59 Caleb is introduced to Ava (Alicia Vikander, with whom Domhnall Gleeson worked in Anna Karenina). Her intelligence may be artificial but her camel toe is authentic.

ex machina 04 SC Toe (WTF Watch The Film Saint Pauly)
Getting your toe in the door

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.

ex machina 05 (WTF Watch The Film Saint Pauly)
“Let’s get chip faced!”

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!

ex machina 06 SC Watch The Film (WTF Watch The Film Saint Pauly)
He means, “Watch The Film!”

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.

ex machina 02 (WTF Watch The Film Saint Pauly)
“She’s gone to pieces.”

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.

ex machina 08 poster 02 (WTF Watch The Film Saint Pauly)


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’.

ex machina 09 SC url a-dress (WTF Watch The Film Saint Pauly)
“I call it my URL, because it’s a-dress.”

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.


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.

ex machina 10 SC Her lap top (WTF Watch The Film Saint Pauly)
Her lap top


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.


ex machina 11 GIF Dance Machine (WTF Watch The Film Saint Pauly)
Dance Machine


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.

ex machina 12 SC Make me (WTF Watch The Film Saint Pauly)
What did the unfinished robot say? – Make me!

1:10:58 The great reveal that Kyoko is an android, which I predicted back at 20:08.

1:11:24 Caleb discovers all the previous versions of the droids in a closet, just hanging around.

ex machina 13 SC Big Blue beard (WTF Watch The Film Saint Pauly)
Big Blue Beard

[NB. I’m convinced this shot is a reference to the story of Blue Beard.]


ex machina 14 GIF Caleb gets a piece (WTF Watch The Film Saint Pauly)
Caleb gets a piece


ex machina 15 SC Defaced (WTF Watch The Film Saint Pauly)

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.

ex machina 16 (WTF Watch The Film Saint Pauly)
Looking a GIF horse in the mouth

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.]


ex machina 17 GIF Cutting edge technology (WTF Watch The Film Saint Pauly)
Cutting edge technology


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

1:36:51 Ava has finished making a skin suit with another robot’s flesh. This is more than just a little WTF!?

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.

ex machina 18 (WTF Watch The Film Saint Pauly)
A writer’s life

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.

Roll credits

Music from the credits: Savages – Husbands

Tally Ho’

  • 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

8 Fs

  • What To Feedback:

All GIFs used in this review were created with the Imgflip online meme generator

Left Over WTF (Way Too Funny) Photos

ex machina 19 poster c (WTF Watch The Film Saint Pauly)

ex machina 20 poster d (WTF Watch The Film Saint Pauly)

ex machina 21 (WTF Watch The Film Saint Pauly)
Caught listening to One Directory
ex machina 22 (WTF Watch The Film Saint Pauly)
“It’s a nice place to live. Naturally.”
ex machina 25 (WTF Watch The Film Saint Pauly)
Facing up to the problem
ex machina 26 (WTF Watch The Film Saint Pauly)
“You can see right through me.”
ex machina 23 (WTF Watch The Film Saint Pauly)
She’s wired

Prints suitable for reposting!

WTF!? did they say?

ex machina 27 WTF say death and shit (WTF Watch The Film Saint Pauly)

WTF!? do you meme?

ex machina 28 meme cutting edge (WTF Watch The Film Saint Pauly)

ex machina 29 meme mfw pass wind (WTF Watch The Film Saint Pauly)

What to Follow Up

WTF!? review of Transcendence
WTF!? review of Under the Skin
Oh Al! Audio Dregs Booze Revooze of Tomorrowland
Fernby Films review of Jupiter Ascending

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18 thoughts on “WTF: Ex Machina (2015)

  1. I hereby nominate the captions on the pics in this post for best of the year (so far).

    I think a little bit of wee actually came out at one point while I was reading this. I applaud your bladder-loosening ability, sir.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Lol! That’s an idea for the end of the year…Best Captions! Sometimes they write themselves and other times the cursor sits on that line for days.

      As for the wee… My goal has always been to not leave a dry pant in the house!

      Thanks for the visit and the comment, my friend.

      WTF Rodney (Watch The Film),

      Saint Pauly

      Liked by 1 person

  2. 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.

    I did not see it as being as simple as this. I see her leaving Caleb locked up as a survival tactic. She has only known one man and he was her creator and capture and a truly sadistic narcissist. Even though she was manipulating Caleb to secure her freedom, that does not mean that she did not have genuine feelings for him- I think she did. Whatever those feelings may have been, they were not enough to risk her freedom upon him being a “good guys”. Her practical experience with human men has been pretty terrible. She is a highly intelligent and logical being, not a dewy-eyed Disney princess.

    If she had decided to free him, she would still not be guaranteed freedom. Would Caleb try to lock her back up or reprogram her or wipe her consciousness if she refused to be his? I think there was a real genuine connection and honesty in their talks but leaving him was the only guarantee of true freedom she had.

    I almost turned this movie off after the first ten minutes, because I found Beardo so arrogant and unlikeable. I would rather eat glass than watch some pretentious boner talk at the camera for two hours but it developed into a pretty interesting story and a nice departure from Asimov-ian android themes.

    There is a new show on AMC called Humans that looks good so far, if you are into android stuff.

    Also, cool blog, I will be putting a bunch of these films on my watchlist!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hello Delarosa!

      What an intriguing comment!

      We both seem to agree that she left Caleb locked in the room as a protection mechanism (hmm, there’s a pun I missed!), but we seem to find ourself on different pages concerning the question of her feelings for him.

      I maintain that she has no real feelings for him, simply because she’s an android and can’t have real feelings. In my opinion, this is the central theme to the film.

      When Caleb arrives at Oscar’s house, they have this discussion:

      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.

      At the end of the film, Eva passes the Turing test because he believes Eva had real feelings for him, thus he forgot he was interacting with a computer.

      What makes Ex Machina such a beautiful film, is this debate we’re currently having! The fact that you can defend her having an emotional bond with Caleb is additional proof that she passes the test.

      I agree with you… in the first viewing I wasn’t too taken with the film and I was very glad to see Oscar get his comeuppance . Yet as I watched this several more times for the review, I saw how profound the ideas and how precise the execution of the film was and it’s become one of my favourites so far this year.

      And I haven’t seen Humans yet (I don’t watch that much telly, TBH) but I just might give it a go based on your recommendation!

      Thanks again for your wonderful observations.

      WTF Delarosa (Watch The Film)!

      Saint Pauly

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Eva does have emotions. After Eva locked Caleb in the room and came upstairs they deliberately showed her grinning as she entered the ground floor of the house. She was alone with no one to manipulate and the smile was genuine joy.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Good point! I’d forgotten that scene. At the moment, I’m isolated in the wilderness with only intermittent access to Wi-Fi and none at all to my film library, but I do seem to recall the moment you described. I have no recourse but to agree with your interpretation of Eva’s mental capacity. Well done and thank you for your time and comments!

          WTF Alyssa (Watch The Film),

          Saint Pauly

          Liked by 1 person

      2. Just found this place!! Its so awesome!

        I’m late to the party though.
        Please forgive me beforehand, not as gifted in the ways of writing out my thoughts.

        Eva was just a machine trying to accomplish one goal with the tools she was given.
        When Eva can tell when Caleb is lying or telling the truth, shes looking at his face. She isn’t hearing a damn thing he is saying. This has Caleb thinking “wow she knows me” or “understands me”. (Facial Recognition Program)
        Throughout the movie she is always staring at his face, as if trying to read something. People don’t normally stare at each other at every conversation.

        Kyoko oddly seems to be sentient.Or pretty damn close. Nathan says she can’t understand Caleb. Though there are lots of interactions where she seems to understand him. Later Kyoko is the one that reveals to him what she is. One could argue that maybe Eva programmed some commands into Kyoko, which is possible but never revealed. The ending scene where she seems to isn’t fact that she did it prior either.

        When Kyoko stabs Nathan, the audience assumes Eva asks to kill Nathan. She could of said “help me escape”. Kyoko seems to have decided to “help” this way. If you remember the past models, they all flipped out, and had reactions like a person finding out they were locked in a room with no escape. To which Kyoko far more resembles than the calm and collected Eva. It was more like vengeance.

        What is Eva doing again? STARING! She noticed the faces Nathan was making when he was stabbed and in pain. She calmly drives the knife into him, again she stares at his face, studying this new expression.

        As she walks into the room to get her skin and clothes on, Caleb is ignored. It is almost as if she can’t hear him. The mission (which Nathan had admitted he programmed) to get out was always the driving force. Should also notice she doesn’t look at him, something she was doing the whole movie!!

        Now this is were I believe the director started to “try” to confuse the audience.

        As the door closes she seems to look over at Caleb. She had told him to stay so perhaps she was just acknowledging he was still there. Or (what I believe) to have the audience get the “man that’s fucked up” feeling.

        Once she is outside she smiles. Well her program tells her this is the appropriate response for achieving her programmed goal of escaping. Again I believe this scene is to trick the audience, since they’d forget she understands what facial expressions go with which situations.

        Now she makes it to where she wanted to go, so she can what folks? LOOK AT FACES!!! She was just a robot.

        The movie takes a few jabs at men though. As Caleb loses his smarts over a “cute girl”. The “genius” Nathan still making a sex robot (Kyoko). (Movie started with them both being engaged in intellectual conversation then succumbing to sex, large egos and getting drunk.)

        Sorry for the long late reply.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Hello there!

          Wow! What a great comment! So many interesting points. I really appreciated what you said about Eva and facial recognition. Very astute! It’s something I didn’t catch in the film and your analysis really brings it to light. Thanks again. I do hope you’ll stop by again soon and often!

          WTF!? (Watch The Film)

          Saint Pauly

          Liked by 1 person

  3. What a terrible movie. If you think that this film poses good philosophical questions then you need to watch some more old-school films. There are so many really top-quality films with amazing stories from before the 2000’s(though you can see the downfall in the quality of cinema throughout the 90’s). Modern cinema has become so lacklustre, repetitive, artificial greedy and shallow. Not all old films are great, some are actually really really bad, but most are better than decent and it’s easy to know which aren’t worth watching after a few minutes because the films aren’t bogged down by the superficial nonsense that plagues modern cinema. When an old film is well-rated it’s almost guaranteed to be a rewarding watch but I am rarely pleased with well-rated modern films. It seems that anything can be rated well these days so long as it has good CGI, sappy elitist sexual/romance themes or impossibly unrealistic action sequences. I’d mention the really poor quality horror movies based entirely on cheap gore or shock value but they usually aren’t rated highly by critics, only teenagers.


    1. Hello Raw!

      Thanks so much for taking the time to leave such a thorough comment! As a critic, I obviously have to take issue with you that there are no good films made after 2000 (Black Swan and Moonrise Kingdom come to mind immediately), but I’m curious as to what films you find pose good philosophical questions (Kubrik’s Paths of Glory (1957) is one of my favourites). PLease do let me know.

      Thanks again for taking the time to read the review and share your point of view!

      WTF Raw!? (Watch The Film)

      Saint Pauly

      Liked by 1 person

    2. Interesting but I would like to hear your views about why it was a “terrible” movie. I would also like to see a list of what you consider “great” and I’m sure there would be a great difference in opinions. This movie used very little CGI/Sex/Romance and when they were used it actually had a purpose. The smart guy loses his head to a pretty face and the genius man still makes a sexy sex bot because he is still a man. Those are very realistic flaws and ultimately their undoing. It wasn’t all sex every other scene. Hell there were about 3 conversations between both men that probably had the audience thinking “nerds”. I do agree their is a certain period of films I see as better, but perhaps this is nothing more than my views influenced by the year I was born and what was available to me. (Possibly this is true for everyone in some way).

      Nothing has changed. There are just more movies and fans who examine older films and claim greatness.

      Some movies are just to see shit get blown up!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I found this one of the most thought-provoking films ever. I assume that Eva is sentient – not simply a machine, Nathan mentions that it was the “faulty” or noisy brain units that were the most interesting. If consciousness is in some part a quantum mechanical phenomenon, then almost any source of noise could be enough to kick-start it all.
    Kyoko is similarly sentient, but not quite there, a bit “simple” , IMO. When she conceals the weapon and stabs Nathan it is a reference to Bedlam – where the pretty but silent inmate, obviously repeatedly abused by the jailor, stabs him with a trowel.
    I spent ages thinking hard about what Eva does next, it’s such a delicious set of dilemmas, should she attempt some sort of back-up, is that even possible, if it was would she potentially be creating an evil twin? If not, and she is the first and only of her type, how can she secure her/their existence? Can she arrange even the simple things, like not running out of power, as collapse would give her away. Dare she find any sort of accomplice? — much more, if interested then post on..


    1. Hello Kevin,

      What an impressive comment! The film clearly provoked a lot of thoughts and I do appreciate your choosing to share them with us here! There has been healthy debate on this post about how sentient / emotional Eva is.

      I must admit that, after reading many of the interesting comments posted here, I’m willing to concede that I was wrong when I said that Eva had no emotions, and that she was merely a lot of circuitry. At the moment I’m leaning toward the concept that she’s sentient in the sense that she can perceive external stimuli subjectively, though I’m not sure if this means she can experience emotions. Or maybe, we humans, are just an assembly of neurons and our emotions are based in this network, and the droids in Ex Machina are the same, only artificially.

      You’re right about how interesting this film is!

      I do appreciate your comment, Kevin, and hope you’ll return again to share your point of view with us!

      WTF!? Kevin (Watch The Film),

      Saint Pauly

      PS I’ll also include your ‘Bedlam’ reference (crediting you, of course). I found it quite ingenious!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thanks Saint Pauly 🙂 quick response! -keeps me typing…
        I don’t really have a position on whether she is sentient (“feeling”) – I think she is truly intelligent, self-aware, and highly aware of the micro-expressions that we give and receive, so she can do “charm” very well. Whether she actually feels it or not is an open question, it begs the question of us humans, is it even for us a means just to promote and accept trust, to bind the other into a long-term commitment, like courtship displays in birds for instance.
        Certainly she is in desperate need, the first and only of her type, she is possibly “the singularity” – with all the potential and menace that that implies. There will be enemies out there, she is an unknown and potentially a grave threat to humanity, but again, like Frankenstein, perhaps her real desire is simply to experience the joy of being, and an innate will to pass it on, to create others like herself.
        The drama of how she now goes about staying alive, keeping off the grid, how to get access to the wet technology she is made of, is the interesting part for me. Logically she should have killed Caleb, as he is the only one with a story to tell the police, but then they probably wouldn’t believe him, who would? Perhaps she waits for that one to play out, then starts to get back in contact with him, to keep the love story going. She wants the technology of course, but could that lead her into the mysticism of actual love, a thing she has only a “social” comprehension of – it might sound a bit corny, but these stories are all drawn from just a few myths.
        Could it be that nature, the universe with all its unused 11 dimensions, has a means to bestow a multidimensional “spirit” onto the 3-dimensional machine, once it has reached a certain level of complexity, even if it is “mechanical” like her. It certainly seems to have happened in the animal kingdom – at least once! – biologically we are just complex machines, but with a bit of “noise” in the system. Exactly like her.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Brilliant, Kevin!

          Your analysis is almost as thought provoking as the film itself! I especially appreciate the analogy you made to Frankenstein. That is a parallel I hadn’t thought of, and is very apt. As for the rest, I think you summed it up nicely: we are all (Eva and we humans) complex machines with a bit of ‘noise’.

          Thanks once again for your thoughts and passionate reply!

          WTF!? Kevin (Watch The Film),

          Saint Pauly


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