Ex Machina

The movie, Ex Machina, is a movie designed by men for men. It dramatically juxtaposes two kinds of men, the extrovert and the introvert against a backdrop of sexual tension provided by the movie’s two female characters, Eva the android and Kyoko, who also turns out to be an android, though an earlier model. Nathan, the movie’s alpha male, is responsible for creating the female androids. His reason for doing this becomes obvious over the course of the film. He has no real female relationships. He is isolated in his cabin fortress, so he makes his own artificial friends. As a montage of his efforts is revealed, he has tried several times to make a female companion to meet his needs for sex and companionship. What he creates however is consistently un-satisfying. Caleb, the unwary Everyman, is drawn into Nathan’s conceit and attempts to solve a problem that Nathan doesn’t even realize needs solved. Nathan is creating female androids because he needs a real woman, but he doesn’t acknowledge or admit this. Caleb is used by Nathan and Eva as a pawn. Eva is revealed as a machine both in her body and in her thinking, without any of the empathy and compassion inherent in real women, which Nathan fails to incorporate in any of his androids. It is this which drives Nathan to create, and why he invites Caleb to join him, because he wants to feel respected and adored. His machines are programmed to obey him. They cannot show him the respect he desires. They can give him sex, but the sex is pointless. It isn’t intimate, or soul-baring, as real sex with a real woman is intended to be. He needs Caleb to admire and adore his work, and to appreciate his genius. This is what he is missing from his pseudo-relationships with his creations.

Lonlieness is the first indication of sentience, not the Turing test. Adam was allowed to discover he was alone in the garden. Nathan’s antagonist is loneliness, not Eva. Eva was the result of trying to solve his loneliness the wrong way. But Eva ultimately fails this test, as she had no need for a companion at the end of the film. She is content with her solitude. She scorns her human companions and takes no thought to repair or restore others of her kind. In the end, she is still a machine. Since she is not motivated by loneliness, her motives become rather vague. Her sole motivation becomes freedom. But how free is she if she must pretend to be a woman, or even human?
Does she possess the desire for:
1) self-preservation? Sustenance?
2) power? Or control of others to serve her own needs?
3) ethics and moral behavior? A sense of repentance or remorse?
Violation of one or more of these would easily tip others off that she isn’t what she appears to be. At best she would have the personality of a two-year-old. Would she hesitate to hurt another person if she desired a resource? Would she not need to become a recluse like her creator to survive? Is her programming capable of modifying itself to accommodate new behaviors? Can she mimic eating and drinking? So many questions.
In the end, Nathan loses his life for his loneliness. Caleb endures the worst kind of loneliness, abandonment. The nudity of the female characters sticks in the mind of the male viewer and makes him ponder the possibilities of this premise. But this too is a sleight of hand, the magicians’ ruse frequently referenced in the film. The nudity distracts from the real questions. Is a woman, from a man’s perspective, only as deep as her skin? Is there nothing more? Nathan is successful in creating the ultimate porn: live, interactive, and always available. But it is still an unfulfilling replacement for real companionship, which is love and respect. A sex robot cannot fulfill this, and as Nathan discovered, the only means of touching his heart is with a knife.  It is significant that both androids, his “lover” and his “child” both stab him in the torso, where his heart is.
Advertisements

Published by

merittmusings

I've been in ministry in the Christian Churches/ Churches of Christ for 20+ years. Finished my doctorate in Biblical Studies in 2015. Serve today as a Hospital Chaplain.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s