Alex Garland, the visionary writer-director behind Ex Machina, obsesses over ideas of what it means to be human. With Ex Machina, he explored the inception of A.I. and how true artificial intelligence blurs the line between human and “other” to dizzying, disorienting and apocalyptic result. In his writing effort Never Let Me Go, Garland posed similar – if less refined – questions, posing an analogous emotional experiment with clones as the test subject, begging his audience to work out what separates “us” from “them”. “If they feel, are they not too human?” was the central thrust and this idea has continue to haunt Garland’s films. Never Let Me Go was a lesser effort but came from a place of ripe ideology and artistic thoughtfulness, traits which Garland has never lacked and has gone on to define to great effect. Read More
This morning, the Seattle Film Critics’ Survery unleashed their winners and it was Mad Max: Fury Road who took the proverbial cake and ate it too. Curated by Should I See It‘s Mike Ward, the full press release is included below:
“George Miller’s post-apocalyptic epic Mad Max: Fury Road steamrolled the competition, and was named the Best Picture of 2015 by Seattle’s film community. The film nearly swept the competition, earning 10 out of a potential 11 award wins in the third annual Seattle Film Awards survey. Read More
Alex Garland has been lurking through the film world since the turn of the century, trying on all kinds of hats on all kinds of projects. His career began somewhat inauspiciously when Danny Boyle turned Garland’s 1996 Thailand travelogue nightmare into a critically flunky Leonardo DiCaprio project (though I’ve always had a bit of a soft spot for The Beach, both the novel and the film.) Shortly thereafter, Garland teamed with Boyle again to greater effect; producing what was to become one of the greatest zombie features of all time in 28 Days Later…, a film that really set the stage for the success of a cultural phenomenon like The Walking Dead. Read More
In Alex Garland‘s sci-fi opus, Ex Machina – most commonly seen in the phrase “deus ex machina”, meaning “god from the machine” and frequently used to describe convenient plot contrivances (of which Ex Machina has none) – refers to the process by which a machine transcends its “machininess”. The Turing test has come to describe this as-of-yet unrealized phenomenon more specifically. This experiment tests for a “machine’s ability to exhibit intelligent behavior equivalent to, or indistinguishable from, that of a human.” Thus the barrier to entry for any truly credible A.I. is sky-high.
Not only must you exhibit superlative intelligence but it must also be nigh indistinguishable from that of a human; a tricky task indeed and one that drives the audience to question what it is specifically that makes an intelligence human. Halfway through Garland’s film, a character drives a scalpel into his arm fervently hunting for circuitry. When the aesthetic design and electronic capacities are this close to impeccable, who’s to say what is man and what is machine. Read More