Video Essay Explains Why 'Ex Machina' Is So Freaking Awesome

Tuesday, 20 December 2016 - 5:28PM
Ex-Machina
Tuesday, 20 December 2016 - 5:28PM
Video Essay Explains Why 'Ex Machina' Is So Freaking Awesome
When it came out last year, Ex Machina was hailed as one of the best AI movies in recent memory, and was even nominated for an Oscar for Best Screenplay, which is rare for a genre film. But according to this video essay explaining just why Ex Machina works so well, the movie was often at its best when it deviated from that screenplay:



In the above video, Lessons from the Screenplay argues that Ava is the real protagonist of the movie. As a result, the movie is the cinematic version of The Great Gatsby: just as the novel is Gatsby's story told through Nick Carraway's eyes, Ex Machina is Ava's story told through Caleb's eyes.

But more importantly, they explain that part of Ex Machina's uniqueness derives from its limited perspective, and its ability to tell the story with as little information as possible. By telling the story from Caleb's perspective rather than Ava or Nathan's, the film withholds information from the audience, which ratchets up the tension. And as they tell us in the video, Ex Machina is masterful in providing us all the information we need without spoonfeeding us a conclusion; it gives us all the "dots," so to speak, but we need to connect them ourselves. 

Most interestingly, much of the film's subtlety is the result of excising unnecessary exposition from the screenplay. Alex Garland both wrote and directed the movie, so this is obviously nothing against his talents, but it's fascinating to see how the movie transformed in its translation to the screen.
Science Fiction
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Ex-Machina