This film allows for a real emphasis on advanced technology which a modern audience are now much more aware of due to it’s digital platform and publicity. Alongside the empowerment of the female gender and the intelligence of AI, we get a real feel for what it would feel like to have this control and fear yet intrigue of what we create to one day take over human life.
When we are initially introduced to the main character Caleb, we get this established setting which emphasises the digital-heavy lifestyle he is about to experience. What is quite ironic is the contradiction of the outside setting of mother nature with the modern set up and structure of the place he is staying in.
What is interesting to me is the interaction between Nathan and Caleb’s introduction to each other. We see this intimidation of Nathan on the new AI research he has been working on which inevitably he is encouraging to get Caleb involved in which to Caleb is essentially the unknown. The audience relatability here is quite prevalent as we see this element of peer pressure seen between boss and employee.
The next interaction that I find to be quite remarkable is between Caleb and Ava. When Caleb is overwhelming her with questions to challenge her intelligence, these are acknowledged by Ava and clarified with ease. This highlights the emphasis of the magnificence of AI for us as an audience member.
What we then begin to see is Nathan who comes across as quite mentally overwhelmed with his new technology. It is as if he is almost caught up in it all and only regards Caleb’s praising, not his comments of criticism. I feel that this lacks empathy and understanding for the audience towards Nathan. He seems too set on his own success that he disregards anything negative which naturally makes him flawed.
The secluded and isolated setting in a way adds this serene yet eerie element to the film itself. Caleb is on his own with one man and his robot. In a way he has been segregated from society to be involved in an experiment which ultimately seems strange and surreal for the audience as it is not a natural environment.
The music throughout is impactful and allows for an almost creepy, ominous ambience within the scenes, particularly the scene where Caleb is watching Ava on the screen, then turning to a lockdown power cut.
Nathan’s character successfully highlights a shady man with an unusual approach to social interaction with Caleb for example his inappropriate and cut throat responses, taking a commanding approach alongside this, establishing his control.
In Caleb’s second session with Ava, we notice how she copies his responses and is a countertype for human asks computer and computer responds. She challenges her own purpose/functions and questions Caleb on his life, emphasising her authenticity and individuality. Alongside this, when the power cuts out, we see an even more advanced side to Ava’s interaction with Caleb as she suggests to him not to trust Nathan.
In Ava’s third session with Caleb, she begins to dress up as if she were human. It establishes her more realistic awareness and approach of conforming to societal expectations of human life. Ava’s indication of Caleb’s attraction towards her emphasises her higher intelligence than that of Caleb — in essence she is working him out.
When approaching the topic of engaging in sexual activity being an option, it is as if Nathan encourages this intimate interaction to occur between Caleb and Ava. Her isolation and lack of social interaction has caused Ava to engage in a romantic mindset when referencing Caleb. Nathan hints at this being a typical situation to that of a human and how they would react/feel encouraging this similarity to a real person. It is as if it is symbolic of a bigger message that sex and love is made a crucial element to society and becomes an important part of our life subconsciously.
In the fourth session with Ava and Caleb, we are made aware that Ava has the power to conduct the power cuts. In essence the stereotype of this dystopian idea of an overtake of advanced technology on the natural forms of life is established here.
When we see the discovery scene of Nathan’s older models, it helps reflect his more secretive side and initiates Caleb’s response of establishing that he is human by cutting himself which is most definitely an intense and powerful scene.
As well as this, the discovery of the video where Caleb plans an escape is a most credible scene. Nathan’s use of Caleb was misconstrued and at Caleb’s demise as he was being used as a lab rat himself to establish the AI’s progression in intelligence through programming, making this very symbolic of the manipulation of being involved in experiments, which in fact reflects Nathan’s complete disregard for Caleb’s feelings.
Contrasted briefly after this, we see the turn of events based on Caleb’s intuition highlighting a revolution in the robots rebelling against their creator.
The build up of Ava discovering how to add the imitation of human skin onto her body is paired with uplifting, ringing music emphasising her rise in her curious innocence. Initially I assumed her dressing up was for Caleb but in fact was for herself and her approach to living outside in the modern world.
Another contradiction to the stereotypical ‘damsel in distress’ as we see this envelopment of empowerment of Ava’s own instincts and intuition without the need for another’s help. Her control and having the upper hand is recognised and somewhat appreciated I feel by audiences.