4 October 2015

Just Another Film About Artificial Intelligence?

It has recently been alleged in an unofficial biography of British Prime Minister David Cameron that the dish-faced little gimp once popped his probably wart-riddled cock into the mouth of a decapitated pig. I have no idea if this story is true and I can't say that I was exactly expecting a headline that suggested our countries leader had necro-face-fucked the star of Babe, however, true or not, if you ask me, the fact that it doesn't surprise me is kind of bad enough. This thought process and story kind of reminded me of Alex Garland's latest film Ex Machina, which is a sci-fi film dealing with the creation of the worlds most advanced AI robot and that Garland claims to be set “ten minutes from now”. His point with this is that his movie might depict an extraordinary set of circumstances, however technology is moving so quickly that if it were announced that his film had come true then we'd be surprised, but not that surprised. I suppose the main difference is though that I'd be excited if they announced the creation of a robot super-race, but with Cameron I simply can't help but wonder who comes out worse in the story? The dead-eyed dirty pig or the decapitated sow with a cock in its mouth.

To elaborate on the story of Ex Machina a little more, Oscar Isaac plays Nathan, a rich pisshead who has somehow managed to find time between drinks to create a sassy little robot that's alleged to have artificial intelligence. The two live together in the middle of nowhere until, like a little Charlie Bucket, Domhnall Gleeson's Caleb wins the golden ticket - the prize, to go for a visit and be the first person to find out what Nathan has been up to. Unlike Charlie Bucket however, Caleb isn't going to wander aimlessly around a chocolate factory whilst an oddball recluse uses his manufacturing business to murder fat little children. Instead, it's his job to administer the Turing Test to Alicia Vikander's semi-naked, semi-see through, semi-inducing robot, Ava. For those unaware of the Turing Test, it's an experiment in which a human evaluator is required to test a machine's ability to express intelligent behaviour to the point that it becomes indistinguishable from an actual person. This, to be fair, is a test that I don't think some braindead fucking gizoids I know in real life would be able to pass. As Caleb gets stuck into his task however, we start to question every-bodies true motivations as everything starts getting tense and nothing is what it seems. Is Nathan actually an evil, mad scientist? Is Caleb starting to go crazy? And surely we have a million reasons not to trust the imprisoned, super-intelligent cyborg Ava? For a start, she's a woman!

Although this is Alex Garland's debut film as a director, he has previously written the scripts for some of the best sci-fi films of the last several years. As such there are elements of this movie that are so recognisable as being from him that it's as though he's condensed everything we expect from an Alex Garland film into its purist form. Ex Machina is a diamond of a movie that's thick with ideas and style, but that's so tightly packed you could sneak it up a cats anus without even getting a scratch. Like his script for Sunshine and Dredd, Ex Machina is predominantly set in the one location and like his The Beach, it deals with the madness of being isolated from the rest of society. Like his Never Let Me Go, this looks at what it means to be human and to want more out of life than simply what you were created for. The film also has a central theme that seems scientifically inevitable and a little bit depressing for the future of our species. One day the Sun will start to die and we probably will end up in a post-nuclear war wasteland, and I do believe that we're building towards the creation of an AI that will improve on humanity so much that we indeed become redundant. There's no denying that we'll one day be taken over and I for one welcome our future robot overlords who I'm sure are smart enough and merciful enough to reward us loyal few with a place in their people-zoo.

Like all of Garland's previously scripted sci-fi films, Ex Machina knows that the best of its genre combines big ideas with eye popping visuals. As such, the effects of Ava are completely seamless with her true robot self being apparent through her mechanical torso, arms, head and legs, whilst her face, tits, and arse seem perfectly human. You can tell she was designed by a man living alone. Assuming you're a superficial, unthinking, member of the usually quite thick, general public however, I'm sure you'll still love this movie. Even if you wanted to ignore all of the subtext and focus simply on the surface, you'd be still left with a really fun, edge of the seat thriller that never gets boring despite being predominantly set in just one location and with only three actors. As well as this however, and despite taking its set-up and concepts absolutely seriously, the film has some really funny moments. Whether it be Nathan's alpha-bastard arrogance or Ava's ability to occasionally be a shitty bitch, there's no way that people can level the same criticism of humourlessness here that was generally used to beat something like Christopher Nolan's Interstellar. That film's funny robot's wittiest crack was when it pretended to self-destruct, by contrast however, Ex Machina features the funniest dance scene to star a non-human since whenever John Travolta last jiggled his alien-loving man-tits.

Of course though, humour can only come with believable characters and it should be mentioned that as amazing as Garland's directorial debut may be, his cast is also at the top of their game. Gleeson is perfectly believable as the fresh-faced innocent whose character has probably got the biggest arc to travel. No matter what his reaction to the crazy shite he's seeing though, the character always remains understandable, with the actor being one of the few things to emanate from Brendan Gleeson's testicles that I enjoy seeing on a screen. Isaac is also phenomenal in the way that he gets laughs out of how ridiculous his twatty inventor is, whilst also remaining believable and ambiguously creepy. I suppose the stand-out for most people however will be Vikander whose performance as Ava is one of the best movie robots since Roy Batty told us in Blade Runner that he'd “Seen things you people wouldn't believe”. Although since the creation of the internet and it's nonchalance towards pornography, I'd argue I've now seen things that Batty wouldn't believe either. In fact, Vikander's obviously robotic woman is probably more convincingly a human than many of the actual humans played by somebody like Adam Sandler, who has always seemed more like a semi-sentient, potato carving of Bob Dylan to me.

Anyway so yeah, if you like your sci-fi movies to be smart, thrilling, funny, frighteningly relevant, and well acted, then I strongly recommend Ex Machina. If you don't like any of that then I guess I'll leave you and your braincell alone with your copy of Bicentennial Man. Not only does the film suggest a promising future for Garland's directorial career but it does a good job at filling me with fucking trust issues. I asked a close chum to interview me to prove I wasn't a robot and the weirdo just started asking me details about my shitting habits. So now I can't be sure that I'm actually a human but I can be sure that he's a fucking pervert. Humans seem to have been obsessed with the creation of AI and the paranoia of their loyalty for a long time with things like Frankenstein and Pinocchio being two older examples. Sure Disney's wooden puppet might have seemed physically harmless but even he had to be programmed with an honesty detector. Then again, perhaps Ava is actually the most trustworthy of the three with the reality being that we humans are the ones who act irrationally and with selfish intentions. At the end of the day there are plenty of friendly robots, but I'm still yet to see a film in which a cyborg sticks its cock in a pigs mouth. Thanks for reading motherfuckers, and see you next time.

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