Ex-Machina – Film Preview


The idea of AI has everyone pondering the “Terminator” Question? Will they rise up and defeat us. But do they have a conscious.  This film looks at the process of building an AI.

This film is a ambitious project because it mainly focuses on the three leads with very little in supporting cast. That focus is on:

  • The Young Programmer – Caleb (Domhnall Gleeson)
  • The A.I. Creator – Nathan (Oscar Isaac)
  • The A.I. – Ava (Alicia Vikander)

The support comes mainly in the artform behind the camera – the SFX and the other things around it.  The creation of Ava is astonishing.


Short Plot Synopsis –

A young programmer is selected to help out an Creator in creating something great. This something great is A.I. The A.I is needed to be tested and the programmer is here to help the process. Once the test is complete, then the fun happens. The Creator  wants one more  upgrade but that means  scrapping the old one – who now wants to survive…


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The initial meetings have the “fanboy” out and loving the experience with the creator.


More Detail

The Film’s story arc starts off with the  relationship between the creator and the “prize winning” programmer. Caleb, the programmer is never sure footed in what his role is to Nathan at the start.

Nathan has brought him is as the human element in the Turing Test. Questions arise later on, which bring Ava in the the  forefront. Ava the A.I.


Seeing the extent of the creation – it dawns on the young protagionist the extent of it.


Ideas of Consciousness – (The Turin Test)

 “The Challenge is to show you she is a Robot and see if you still feel she has consciousness” – Nathan

The key part of the film is this idea of what is conscious and what is not. The Turin Test is a good idea and this takes its central role in  the film.  Nathan using Caleb to help him forward his work with A.I.  What is the Idea of Consciousness?

Ava bonds with Caleb quick but Ava can tell if he lies.

“Did you program her to flirt with me?” – Caleb

Caleb never feels that sure footed in his direction – like the audience. While, Ava is acted on the edge of robotic movements to human emotions and flaws.  The Ava and Caleb characters sort of build that unsure working relationship.

The audience gets played with on the same  levels of Caleb been confused and played with emotionally with both Ava and Nathan. Who is the bad guy?

This enters the final arc of the film – Ava wants to survive but Nathan thinks one more “upgrade” will do it. He plans to scrap Ava and she does not like that idea.

Alex Garland writes and directs this and his pure direction is clear to see.  This  is not a Sky-net movie its about sympathy to it more than knowing who the bad guy is.



Alex Garland talking to “Ava” about context of this scene.


A tight Schedule

The director put the performance in the actors hands, laying down the foundations and only directing when he needed to. This shows in the performances.

The film being on a tight budget lead to a 3 take system. Take 1, get it right and then offer two different variations. Building a film full of choices.


This is a film to be seen if the ideas of A.I. and conscious. The idea of a survival instinct.

Is Nathan the bad guy for looking at progression of A.I.? – Is Ava bad for wanting to survive? – What side should Caleb choose that of progression or that of survival….

It’s those ideas that make it feel big rather than a massive explosion. The ideas are big, the concept is great and we cant wait to see it.

 For More Info –

Films Website – Click Here to see Ava.

The Film is going to be released in the UK – 23rd  of January.

Expect it in USA – March at the South by Southwest Festival.


About Author

Assistant Editor for Erisea. Lover of all things Geeky and otherwise. Feel free to say hello - @Dresdenfalls

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