I enjoyed this movie, but I didn’t really like it. It was a really well done sci-fi story, well made, well acted, that raises interesting questions. But it never really clicked for me.
There was something about the filmmaking that reminded me so strongly of Upstream Color. It was the humming score, and the way that dialogue was put over shots of nature, and just something about the mood. But this was the cool filmmaking elements of Upstream Color being used by a big Hollywood movie, and while effective, it was also really weird. The sound in Upstream Color is such a huge part of the film, it’s part of telling the story, while in Ex Machina the score is just the score. It creates atmosphere, but doesn’t serve some larger purpose. There’s nothing wrong with that, not really. But it made me want to watch Upstream Color again, which is a much better movie, that may not be as coherent, but at least I can tell that it’s trying to say something.
I’m not sure what the takeaway of Ex Machina is supposed to be. It says a lot of different things about technology, and artificial intelligence, and what it means to be human, but it doesn’t really hang together. There were somethings that I don’t think I agreed with — especially about sexuality being a core trait of humanity — but I’m not sure if the film wanted to be agreed with or not.
I didn’t mind any of the plot’s ambiguities, I minded that the ideas never formed into anything clear — a solid question, a position, something more to walk away with would be nice.
Instead I’m left wondering if it knew what it was doing.
What it was doing isn’t the whole world, not when the how is so enjoyable.
Oscar Isaac was just magnetic. He was playing a creepy scumbag, but a really interesting one, who can be charming, and appealing, and just — that dance scene was a lot alright? I would have been okay with an even longer dance sequence.
It was a good movie. If I thought about it less I might have enjoyed it more. If I think about it more, I might eventually like it more. It’s worth watching.