Alex Garland’s “Ex Machina” was easily one of our favorite movies of last year (the film clocked in at number 11 on our best of the year list). The heady sci-fi flick — and directorial debut for Garland, the scribe behind “28 Days Later” and “Sunshine” — combined a micro budget aesthetic and contained setting with stunning CG (it picked up a surprise Oscar for Best Visual Effects) to create one of the most eerie and idiosyncratic films in years. But a passive filmgoing experience “Ex Machina” wasn’t. The film is littered with questions that push both moral and existential boundaries, and left many audience members to ruminate over humankind’s attempt to establish dominion over God through machines, and the masculine attempt to establish dominion over women.
To take a more careful and nuanced look at the film’s exploration of artificial intelligence, Fandor has put together an enticing ten-minute video essay. “Ex Machina: Questioning The Human Machine” starts by parsing the Turing Test that’s central to the film, and making note of how the test also impacts the film’s structure and arcs of the two human characters (Domhnall Gleeson and Oscar Isaac, both in top form). But the video essay takes it a step further and brings in the Bechdel test, which, at its core, tests the representation of women in fiction and cinema — with which the film is also consciously playing via the fembots and their male creators.
All in all, ‘Questioning The Human Machine’ is fascinating and necessary and will likely cause many to reevaluate “Ex Machina” in one way or another. Warning though: spoilers do abound, so if you haven’t caught “Ex Machina” yet, be sure to steer clear (it is also pretty NSFW).
Check out Fandor’s “Ex Machina: Questioning The Human Machine” below, and weigh in with your thoughts in the comments.