As much as I liked Ex Machina and Alicia Vikander’s performance in it, I’d never watched any real interviews with her or anything. Wow, her voice sounds different than it did in the film. Shows just how good her performance truly was.
This analysis at least understood the film, which most people do not, but he missed I think the best part of the manipulation the film does to its audience.
What I mean is that he obviously understands some to most of the first layer of manipulation, but misses the meta-manipulation that the work commits. The meta-manipulation is that if you go in with the perspective that the film is about a “sexy robot lady” you will accidentally see a completely separate movie that is nothing like the real one, but would be like the film that would’ve been made if Nathan or someone similar had made it himself. Thus, because you have been so colonized by the perspective you think you are rejecting, you see a film that was never made and does not exist. I believe that Garland was aware of this while making the film and is a deliberate part of the work.
However, back to the video analysis. He understands a crucial point that the others miss when he says of Ava that, “At first, she wanted to be his friend, but very quickly she realized he was only interested in her sexually. In addition, Caleb’s compassion stops with Ava.” Indeed. That was the same conversation when she asks about the morality of switching her off — murdering her — and he hems and haws like a seamstress making a left turn.
Another brilliant meta-manipulation that the film commits is that if Caleb’s weak bromides and homilies sound brilliant or learned to you, then you are just as impuissant intellectually as Caleb. This was also very deliberate.
I like Ex Machina for so many reasons, not the least of which is it’s a perfect IQ test on several levels: if you see Caleb as the protagonist, you are an idiot and amoral. If you think the movie is about how sexy a sexy, sexy robot lady is, you are an idiot, and probably an idiot who thinks she is a feminist but really is not. And if you think that Caleb’s “witty” declamations have any intellectual content other than some shit he read in a book and parroted like a fucking macaw, you are also mentally deficient.
Such a brilliant film.