“The challenge is not to act automatically. It’s to find an action that is not automatic. From painting, to breathing, to talking, to fucking. To falling in love…” ~ Nathan
Every so often I come across a movie that defies my expectations, and leaves me staggered afterwards, awash in thoughts and contemplation that is hard to immediately articulate. The kind of movie that keeps me thinking for days after, sifting through what I took in and trying to piece it together, the feelings and the reactions, to come away with what I thought about it all. Ex-Machina is one of those films, and to be honest, I’m still puzzling over it, I am still digging through my reactions.
With Sunshine and 28 Days Later in the writer/director’s past, I definitely came to this film with fair warning. I knew the societal skewering that would most likely take place. The shedding of surfaces and the remarks on the human condition that this would present. But, this film was more than that. It brought up questions of not only what makes someone human, but what takes apart that humanity, as well. It also left me wondering about technology, and not in the way one might suspect. No, I am not tossing around the fear of artificial intelligence taking over the world, as so many Sci-Fi stories have warned, no, this is more about what we put out into the world, willingly, of ourselves; or, should I say, our edited selves.
This movie brought up questions of gender, of sexuality, of overwrought “tropes” of cinema and story. It dismantled the “manic pixie girl” notion, and turned it on its head. The film also left me wondering about attraction and love, creation and coincidence, and the vulnerability of being human. I was left, and am still left, wanting more and it may require the “more” to be a couple of repeated viewings.
Beyond the mind messing the film did, and the contemplation it gifted, I’d be amiss to not mention the phenomenal cinematography, the amazing acting by Alicia Vikander, Oscar Isaac and Domhnall Gleeson, and the brilliant score by Ben Salisbury and Geoff Barrow, who are also known for their work with Portishead.
If you have seen the film, I’d love to know what you thought.