Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Ex Machina


While we wait for awards season, let's take a look at films currently streaming. It's no secret I love sci- fi films. I've been fortunate to help re-invent a couple of classics like Star Trek, First Contact and Battlestar Galactica. So this week I thought we're take a look at Ex Machina. For those of you that have not seen the film, here is a brief synopsis;
Caleb Smith (Domhnall Gleeson) a programmer at a huge Internet company, wins a contest that enables him to spend a week at the private estate of Nathan Bateman (Oscar Isaac), his firm's brilliant CEO. When he arrives, Caleb learns that he has been chosen to be the human component in a Turing test to determine the capabilities and consciousness of Ava (Alicia Vikander), a beautiful robot. However, it soon becomes evident that Ava is far more self-aware and deceptive than either man imagined. 
First of, this is a visually beautiful film. The design is spare with a limited color palette. While most of the attention is paid to the visual effects of Ava's costume, the work done by costume designer Sammy Sheldon is remarkable. Let's take a look at how she developed the characters and supported the themes of the film.






Caleb's costumes are series of loose fitting t-shirts, hoodies, and button down shirts which emphasize his youth and lack of sophistication



When Caleb first arrives he is wearing a boxy suit with a striped, button down shirt and no tie. It looks like something he might have worn in prep school. Or something his mother would have picked out for him. Now imagine if he had a European cut suit, solid shirt and silk tie...and maybe a bit of hair gel.  Different guy!


In contrast, Nathan's tighter clothing, usually in dark colors, give him a menacing air.







Nathan is exercising when Caleb first meets him. His tank top and basketball shorts show off his more developed and mature body. We understand his dominance over Caleb right away.




Here Nathan is in a sort of track suit with the hoodie unzipped...kind of 70's sleazy. We now really don't trust him!

Here are the two men together. Notice how very different they are;




With her tiny floral print dresses, peter pan collars, and slightly oversized cardigans, Ava, when she dresses as a human, is innocent and childlike. No wonder Caleb trusts and believes her. I wish there were more photos available of her dressed this way to demonstrate.

When Ava leaves the compound she is wearing a modest, white lace dress (and again, with a peter pan collar), signifying virginity and purity. It resembles a modern wedding or first communion dress.


I hope this brief look at just a few of the costumes of Ex Machina gives you a peek into the subtle ways the costumes support the design and storyline of of the film. The costumes are so masterfully controlled, they don't appear costume like at all. Just the natural way in which the characters dress. Great job!

Until next time...






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