“… I didn’t like, but now I like it.”
Ex Machina is a movie that I saw in theatres and I didn’t like it, but then I watched it again last night and I really liked it.
I give Ex Machina an A
That’s pretty much it. I didn’t like, but now I like it. Do you want more than that? I mean, I guess if I were to break down why I didn’t like it the first time it would be becasue of the pacing. Ex Machina is a very deliberately paced movie (to put it politely), and if you are expecting a cool action movie or intense thriller it’s not for you. But when you go into the movie knowing that it makes you stew in these moments of discomfort you can appreciate the intention.
Ex Machina is a movie that is steeped in feeling. There’s not a whole lot to unpack on the story front, although I do enjoy it, but really what you’re going to remember is the way you felt. What I found interesting this time around about Ex Machina was how your feelings directly mimic those of the main character. I mean, of course they would because he is the main character and therefore the vessel through which we are introduced to the story, but the way this was accomplished was very interesting.
When we first meet Ava (the robot) we, much like the main character, are amazed at the technology. We marvel at her beauty and laugh along with the main character in astonishment. But as the movie goes on and our main character’s feelings evolve so do our own. That wonder turns into a different kind of wonder. We are now worried that there’s something happening under the surface of this research facility, and that eventually turns into fear. All of these emotions are so immersive you can’t help but have your eyes glued to the screen the entire time. But I guess I didn’t see that the first time around.
And these feelings are really accentuated by the way the movie looks and sounds. Ex Machina presents a location that is stunning, a beautiful estate that borders on to a few mountains and is surrounded by wildlife. But that slowly transitions into pale, windowless rooms wherein these tests happen. It’s interesting because The journey of Caleb (the main character) is a direct mirror of the journey of Ava. Caleb goes from seeing the entire world and longing to be in that room with Ava, while Ava has lived in that room her entire life and longs to see the entire world. They kind of pass each other like two ships in the night, and that makes a really poignant moment; at least to current me. Past me was having none of this shit.
Past me also didn’t respect (read: have an intense love for) Oscar Isaac like current me does; and he fucking kills it in this movie (Oscar Isaac, not current me). He really nails the ‘brogrammer’ character, but also manages to stay really menacing throughout the film. And the other actors knock it out of the park as well. Ex Machina is a movie that is carried by four actors, but never once does it feel empty.
It’s interesting to see how our perceptions change over time, and it’s one of the reasons writing reviews is pointless. But you don’t need to know all of that. Just know that I didn’t like it, but now I do.