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Ex Machina

What an extraordinary performance by newcomer Alicia Vikander. The way she is able to control her expressions: just the hint of a smile indicating thorough delight, or the tiny down-turning of the edges of the mouth indicating confusion. And always, always, the mind seeking to understand, or, shall we say, the computer seeking to process. She looks as if she could be Emily Blunt’s younger sister, and, like the older actress, she can be as intelligent a presence on screen as she desires to be.

What is this compelling movie saying about the nature of humanity? If Artificial Intelligence is to be achieved, it must be with a heart. A robot cannot be a human without learning, and achieving the exercise of, desire. But which desire is chief? What holds the top spot in the list of human yearnings? For most of the film Alex Garland, the movie’s writer/director, sucks us into thinking he will answer this question with “Love”. But what he ends up saying is “Survival”. The fall trumps the creation in this film; the devil wins the war in Ex Machina. How glad I am the real deus, not ex machina, but ex caelo, triumphed in life.

Drew Trotter

May 22, 2015

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