A Dark Look at Technology in ‘Ex-Machina’
From first seeing this movie in theaters to watching it recently, “Ex-Machina” has a very specific view it is trying to display to the audience. The film emphasizes the cold and isolating set design and sterile, untrusting human behavior. Neither Nathan or Caleb have trust for each other since they are both basically strangers. Nathan has a very bizarre relationship with Ava and Kyoko where they are almost created just for sexual desire. Kyoko cannot even speak, she is just meant to be a sexy servant who can dance. So there are major tones of misogyny and sexism but from both sides. Ava is not a gender technically because she is a robot but if you take her as a woman, she tricks Caleb with her sexuality and makes him less trustworthy of Nathan.
It seemed the underlying message of the film was for humans to be more observant and aware of technological advances and to not necessarily put all of your trust in technology. There is a divide between Nathan and Caleb from the beginning since Nathan is a millionaire inventor and Caleb is just helping test Ava’s personality. Nathan makes Caleb feel inferior subtly. Ava creates an entire plan to kill Nathan, who created her, by using Caleb as a pawn. They are both being used against each other because Ava is only looking for her own freedom.
The film suggests a reality where technology has only a negative effect towards humans, or if technology advances too far it will have a negative effect. Ava gaining her freedom and trapping Caleb in the mansion shows that robots cannot have feelings or sympathy and will only look out for themselves. It has a very bleak tone throughout with intense, eerie music and shots angled in such a way to make the audience feel the sterile environment. Overall, the film leaves the audience with the feeling of emptiness which was created by the modern, minimalistic esthetic. It feels more like a warning about the advancement of technology rather than just a simple thriller flick.