HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
 
Newest Reviews
Tyger Tyger
Filmmaker's House, The
Man Standing Next, The
Rock, Paper and Scissors
Batman: The Long Halloween Part One
Salaam Bombay!
Boss Level
My Heart Can't Beat Unless You Tell It To
Edge of the World
PTU
Superdeep
Insignificance
Treasure City
Piccadilly
Parallel
Invasión
Shiva Baby
Flowers of Shanghai
War and Peace
Agony
Merrily We Go to Hell
Ellie & Abbie (& Ellie's Dead Aunt)
Amusement Park, The
Lemebel
Hands of Orlac, The
Cats
Death has Blue Eyes
Caveat
Kala Azar
Duplicate
Flashback
Gunda
After Love
Earwig and the Witch
Zebra Girl
Skull: The Mask
Vanquish
Bank Job
Drunk Bus
Homewrecker
   
 
Newest Articles
Sherlock vs Ripper: Murder by Decree on Blu-ray
That Ol' Black Magic: Encounter of the Spooky Kind on Blu-ray
She's Evil! She's Brilliant! Basic Instinct on Blu-ray
Hong Kong Dreamin': World of Wong Kar Wai on Blu-ray
Buckle Your Swash: The Devil-Ship Pirates on Blu-ray
Way of the Exploding Fist: One Armed Boxer on Blu-ray
A Lot of Growing Up to Do: Fast Times at Ridgemont High on Blu-ray
Oh My Godard: Masculin Feminin on Blu-ray
Let Us Play: Play for Today Volume 2 on Blu-ray
Before The Matrix, There was Johnny Mnemonic: on Digital
More Than Mad Science: Karloff at Columbia on Blu-ray
Indian Summer: The Darjeeling Limited on Blu-ray
3 from 1950s Hollyweird: Dr. T, Mankind and Plan 9
Meiko Kaji's Girl Gangs: Stray Cat Rock on Arrow
Having a Wild Weekend: Catch Us If You Can on Blu-ray
The Drifters: Star Lucie Bourdeu Interview
Meiko Kaji Behind Bars: Female Prisoner Scorpion on Arrow
The Horror of the Soviets: Viy on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Tarka the Otter and The Belstone Fox
Network Double Bills: All Night Long and Ballad in Blue
Chew Him Up and Spit Him Out: Romeo is Bleeding on Blu-ray
British Body Snatchers: They Came from Beyond Space on Blu-ray
Bzzzt: Pulse on Blu-ray
The Tombs Will Be Their Cities: Demons and Demons 2 on Arrow
Somebody Killed Her Husband: Charade on Blu-ray
   
 
  Ex Machina Fool Me Once, Shame On You
Year: 2015
Director: Alex Garland
Stars: Alicia Vikander, Domhnall Gleeson, Oscar Isaac, Sonoya Mizuno, Corey Johnson
Genre: Science FictionBuy from Amazon
Rating:  6 (from 1 vote)
Review: Caleb (Domhnall Gleeson) has won a prize. He entered a contest to spend a week with one of the world's great technological innovators, a tycoon who has invented some of the most advanced electronics yet seen - and owns the company he works for. Nathan (Oscar Isaac) is that man, but to reach him Caleb must travel to his personal home cum laboratory which is in the middle of a picturesque wilderness, a helicopter journey that has him set down in a field and asked to find the way in. He does that soon enough, and at the door to the complex he is given a special pass card that will open certain doors, though others remain closed. Then it is the man himself he meets, who breaks off from exercising to greet his guest - but what is Caleb here to see?

Alex Garland had distinguished himself in genre movies with a number of successful scripts, even if he was accused of liberally borrowing from other sources and adapting them to his own ends, though there was nothing especially unusual about that, and he delivered them with an intelligence that would often have them rise above their inspirations, or at least head off in an equally intriguing direction. Ex Machina was his directorial debut, and rather than crafting some big, splashy effects-filled adventure, he opted to keep it low key, all the better for his ideas to play out in an intimate venue rather than packing in the car chases and explosions, of which there were none. Yet it could be that by doing so, he showed up his limitations.

With its Spartan set design there was a tone of pure logic at work in this, not apparent in the first place but more obvious as the plot drew on; initially we think the two men are operating on a emotional, non-scientific level, though that is revealed not to be the case by the twist ending. What Nathan has cooked up in his isolated retreat is an actual android which he claims can pass the Turing Test, the ultimate demonstration that a machine has achieved consciousness when it can convince - or fool - a human that they are conversing with a living personality. Here's the first snag: can you think of any filmmaker who would present an artificial intelligence that wouldn't pass the Turing Test?

It would be a letdown if the supercomputer that had achieved sentient thought processes simply got caught in a loop or kept making blunders that exposed it as a sham, wouldn't it? So naturally Nathan's pet project is going to be convincing, in the tradition of HAL 9000 from 2001: A Space Odyssey which Garland cannot resist referencing, though what he adds to the mix is to make the A.I. a fembot. She is Ava, played by Alicia Vikander, the Swedish rising star, decked out in a fancy see-through look to render her that bit more otherworldly, though the actress managed a neat balance between the slightly off-kilter and the tentative moves towards a recognisable persona that could pass as a human. But what would be the ultimate test for Nathan to be satisfied?

What is this thing you Earthmen call love, Captain? Basically it seems the manipulative supermind of Nathan's will not be content until his guest is, if not in love with Ava, then certainly wants to see if she's fully functional in a sexual manner, and there are times when we wonder if she's flirting with him to demonstrate just that. However, there is another image Garland returns to over and over, and that is the prison imagery of Ava trapped in her cell, only talking to Caleb through the clear screen between them, suggesting slyly that either she may be dangerous and is best kept away from the public, or that she is unjustly incarcerated and needs to be set free to see that fairness done. And we all know how most prison movies end, don't we? No matter that there was an undercurrent of pondering over how men treat women they are attracted to, the gender politics were a little too removed from reality to ring true, leaving your common or garden Frankenstein retelling which may be icy cool in its realisation, but we all know how that ends too. Electro-music by Geoff Barrow and Ben Salisbury.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

This review has been viewed 1930 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star probably has psychic powers?
Laurence Fishburne
Nicolas Cage
Anya Taylor-Joy
Patrick Stewart
Sissy Spacek
Michelle Yeoh
Aubrey Plaza
Tom Cruise
Beatrice Dalle
Michael Ironside
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Darren Jones
Enoch Sneed
  Desbris M
Andrew Pragasam
  Paul Tuersley
  Chris Garbutt
  Sdfadf Rtfgsdf
   

 

Last Updated: