Friday, June 12, 2015

Little Stories about Detectives, Robots and Loss

Getting a job is so hard, isn't it?

Since I quit my old job, I have been job hunting like crazy. I have done many interviews, tests, teaching demos, etc. Sometimes this makes me feel exhausted, frustrated, desperate. I'm not giving up, though. But sometimes I just need to escape from all the job hunting madness. And my way of escaping is, you know, getting lost in the stories of films and books haha.

I ordered a book entitled In the Woods by Tana French earlier this week. It's about a detective who has to investigate a murder case that is similar to his traumatic experience in the past. Yup, I'm in the mood for crime fiction again haha. People say that this book is recommended for anyone who likes Gillian Flynn's Gone Girl. Well, you know how I feel about that book (read my thoughts on Gone Girl here), so I decided to order In the Woods. The book is expected to arrive next week and I'm so excited to read it.

A few days before I ordered the book, I saw a movie called The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby: Them. It's a drama about Connor (James McAvoy) and Eleanor (Jessica Chastain), who are perfect as a couple. However, a tragic loss that they experience changes everything. There are moments in this movie where I don't understand what is actually going on. But I think this is good because, I think, that's what would happen when you experience something traumatic like that. You feel confused, lost. Everything seems chaotic and messy. Those feelings are portrayed by Jessica Chastain in a beautifully heartbreaking way. I love James's performance too but I think he needs more screen time haha. My favorite scene involves these two actors and occurs near the end of the movie. The two talk about their memories about the person they've lost and their grief. It's just really sad and heartbreaking. Oh yeah, the amazing Viola Davis is in this movie too. She plays a supporting character here, but you just can't ignore her because she's just so cool.

Another movie that I saw recently is Ex Machina. This film is written and directed by Alex Garland, the one who wrote the scripts of Never Let Me Go and 28 Days Later. It is about a female AI (Artificial Intelligence) named Ava (Alicia Vikander) whose human characteristics are tested by her creator, Nathan (Oscar Isaac), using his employee, Caleb (Domhnall Gleeson). The movie is so tense! And quite scary too, I think. The music and the look of the movie play a huge part in making it tense. There is one piece of the music that sounds like the beat of a heart, which makes me anxious whenever it is played. Nathan's modern, sophisticated house and the huge trees that surround it somehow create coldness that makes me quiver.

There are only four actors in this movie: the three actors mentioned above and Sonoya Mizuno as Nathan's assistant, Kyoko. They all are fantastic in their roles. Alicia Vikander's Ava looks so innocent and sweet, which lets me understand why Caleb is so taken with her. But sometimes you can see something different when she demands answers from Caleb; something that makes me hold my breath. Oh, what she does at the end leaves me completely breathless because it's terrible but she still looks innocent. Domhnall Gleeson plays the naive Caleb successfully and makes me feel related to him. I still can't stop thinking about what happens to him at the end. Oscar Isaac plays his strange character so well. His performance truly deceives me and makes the revelation at the end so shocking. And that Kyoko girl! She doesn't even talk but she freaks me out whenever she appears, especially when she reveals her true self to Caleb in Nathan's room.

Despite all the greatness that I've mentioned, I think the most memorable part of the movie is the ending. It is just so shocking and eerie and thought-provoking. Ugh it's so hard to talk about it without giving spoilers haha. The ending gets me thinking, who is the villain in the story, actually? Do Ava's actions at the end make her the villain? Is it wrong for her to want to live freely? Should people keep trying to build AIs? Should we let the AIs look back on us the same way we look at fossils, like Nathan says? Can we, humans with the instinct for survival, let that happen? Are we afraid of AIs?

So that's all from me today. Wait for my review of In the Woods!

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