Friday, 30 January 2015

Ex Machina - The scoop and digest

Its title derives from the Latin phrase 'Deus Ex-Machina', literally 'God from the Machine'.

Beginning in 2000, the multi-genred and cyberpunk themed Deus Ex franchise enjoyed critical acclaim.

Die-hard Spectrum heads should hang their heads in shame if they don't remember Mel Croucher's arthouse game of the same title from 1984.

The phrase is seen on the treasure chest towards the end of Vince Vaughn/Ben Stiller 2004 sporting farce Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story.

To really blow minds, it is also displayed after completing Jaleco's rubbish 1991 Final Fight clone 64th Street: A Detective's Story.

Regardless of interpretation, sci-fi is a concept more flexible than a garden hose and consequently, my cinematic duck of 2015 is broken.

Plot details and/or spoilers will unpack data.

Doing their bit, for science:

Domhnall Gleeson - Caleb
Oscar Isaac - Nathan
Alicia Vikander - Ava

After winning a competition set by BlueBook big cheese Nathan, hotshot coder Caleb trips off to conduct a series of 'turing tests' on his employer's latest experiment.

Their relationship is intially awkward but alcohol soon thaws the ice...

It isn't long before we meet sexy fembot Ava and so begins quid pro quo.

Via CCTV, Nathan is able to keep a watchful eye on Ava but power cuts temporarily make him blind.

He believes it is the fault of installation but we and Ava know better.

As each 'session' falls by the wayside, Caleb becomes attracted to artificial intelligence and wonders if forming a relationship wouldn't be so bad.

Mute housemaid Kyoko wanders zombie-like and is harshly treated by Nathan.

Ava dresses up for Caleb which leads him to believe that Nathan purposely programmed her to flirt.

The consequences of Ava failing the test will result in Nathan erasing memory, effectively killing her.

One night, Nathan gets mind-meltingly pariletic and Caleb 'borrows' his key card to access a previously restricted area.

Deactivated robots hang inside numerous closets in Nathan's bedroom and peeling back face, a naked Kyoko reveals she is also AI.

At some point, Nathan is seen getting very intimate with Kyoko...

During another forced blackout, Caleb informs Ava that Nathan plans to reset and effectively kill her so it's agreed that getting Nathan drunk (again), stealing key card and reprogramming facility to open every door is an award winning escape plan.

The following morning, Caleb attempts to instigate another drinking binge but Nathan is conveniently now on the wagon and isn't in any mood to fall off it.

Nathan revels in revealing he surreptitiously hid a battery operated camera, and is more than aware of Caleb's dastardly plan.

Ava was using him and he was the test all along.

When Caleb gloats about already rerouting the door system ahead of time, Nathan knocks him sparko.

Acting as a pseudo tag team, Kyoko and Ava turn on creator by stabbing him in the back and front respectively.  Kyoko is killed in the process, Ava loses arm rather than leg and Nathan succumbs to his wounds, reflecting on astonishing irony.

Ava plunders pieces of inoperative AI to pronounce herself human but leaves Caleb for dead.

The helicopter takes her into human society to adapt and presumably lead a normal life.

Surrounded by dense forest and raging waterfalls, Alex Garland's directorial debut is a well written, hugely enjoyable piece of celluloid.

Many will cite Spielberg's A.I. as direct influence but one completely disagrees.

While Gleeson and Vikander are interesting in contrasting roles, Oscar Isaac steals the show as eccentric genius.

It's morally incorrect to fancy robots, right?

Well considering how stunning Ava looks, opinion may not be an open and shut case...

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