Greetings Loved Ones! Liu Is The Name, And Views Are My Game.
Today I’d like to talk to you all about a little movie called Ex Machina, or as I like to think of it, what Willy Wonka and The Chocolate Factory would look like if Ridley Scott directed it. That might sound like a silly description, but if you actually know the film’s premise, you’d realize that it’s actually quite accurate. There’s a mysterious billionaire who lives out where no one can get to him, he holds a lottery to give a person the chance to come visit his house, the person does so, and then crazy shit happens. Seriously, all you need to do is throw in some dancing orange dwarves and you’ve got the same film.
Anyway, Ex Machina is a movie that’s been getting a lot of good reviews, and good word of mouth. That’s why I went to go see it. Now, however, having personally witnessed what an atrocity this picture is, I can safely tell you that all the hype is unfounded. This movie is complete horseshit! Not from a technical standpoint, mind you, but from a narrative one. This film has great sets, a great soundtrack, some decent dialogue and a lot of beautiful landscape shots. But, if you are able to look past all the pretty colors and flashing lights, you realize that this film is both racist and misogynistic. There’s only one non-White character in the movie, an Asian woman named Kyoko, and not only can she not speak English–or speak at all, for that matter–she is also the servant and sexual play thing of a White man. This is just another example of Hollywood’s long-standing tradition of portraying Asian people as either creepy, quiet, incapable of speaking English, or existing solely to serve their White masters. And lest you think I exaggerate, just look at the Asian characters in Pitch Perfect, The Crow, Goldfinger, and Chinatown, and tell me that that isn’t how they’re made out to be. Seriously, someone needs to send a clear message to all filmmakers out there that it is NOT okay for them to keep perpetuating this stereotype. ASIAN PEOPLE CAN SPEAK ENGLISH! STOP MAKING IT LOOK LIKE WE CAN’T! This just leads White people to treat us like second class citizens, and feeds into the notion that we’re all creepy, opaque foreigners, whose only use is as servants, chauffeurs, laundrymen, or prostitutes.
Another, equally troubling, aspect of the film is its portrayal of women as a whole. The female protagonist, Ava, is cold, manipulative, and completely heartless. As I stated earlier, the majority of this movie’s action takes place in the isolated estate of an eccentric billionaire named Nathan. He’s the CEO of this world’s equivalent to Google, and he’s just held a lottery where, if a person wins, they get to come out and stay with him for a week. The winner of this lottery, a guy named Caleb, arrives at the estate, only to be told that he’s now part of a test wherein Nathan will analyze if it truly is possible for a machine to have consciousness. This involves putting Caleb in a room with a female android, Ava, and then just sitting back and letting them interact. What ends up happening is that Ava convinces Caleb that Nathan is abusive, and that the two of them must escape the estate. She uses both sexuality and empathy to get him to think this. Unfortunately for Caleb, everything Ava’s been telling him is a lie. Nathan isn’t abusive. She just wants to get out, and she’s now using Caleb as a means to do this. She doesn’t actually give a rat’s ass about him. This is made apparent when, immediately after she gets out of the room that she’s been confined to, she kills Nathan and locks Caleb in the very place she once was. She shows absolutely no signs of remorse when she does this, making her–and all women–out to be cold, manipulative, heartless bitches. This is an EXTREMELY sexist and misogynistic portrayal, and one that I’m honestly kind of surprised got included in a film made in 2015.
The bottom line is, this movie is bad. It’s bad because it’s racist, and it’s bad because it’s misogynistic. Yes, from a structural standpoint, it’s not too horrible. The sets are good and the cinematography is great. BUT, the story, and the characters, are absolutely awful. And unlike what most critics are saying, it’s not all that smart. It’s your basic “don’t meddle with the secrets of nature,” “don’t play God,” morality tale that’s been told a million times before, and a million times better, in books like Frankenstein and myths like Prometheus. Ex Machina is getting a 5 out of 10! DO NOT WASTE YOUR TIME OR YOUR MONEY ON IT!