“I just wanted to hear your voice and tell you how much I love you” –Samantha, Her
“Is it strange to have made something that hates you?” –Ava, Ex Machina
2001: A Space Odyssey is memorable for more than its depiction of artificial intelligence but also its tranquil pacing and sterile modernism. Ex Machina plays the same, taking place somewhere almost as deeply isolated as space. The remote IKEA-castle of a compound is itself mostly empty with soft piano notes echoing off lonely opulence. The mansion is cold and modern but incorporates the lush nature outside. The film moves from windowless labs to trees and waterfalls to a living room that’s half house half nature. The techno-bio juxtaposition and enmeshment clearly echo the film’s techno-human subject matter. But the wilderness reminds of death as much as life.
The nature here is more than natural but is isolation, is the constant implication that there is no escape, is vulnerable dependence, and ultimately is a reminder that you are under the control of a violent, clever, scheming drunk. more...