Is there anything either positive or negative in the film’s representation of women not already accounted for here? (points will vary)
A “female” robot is held prisoner by her (male) creator, and her predicament is used to motivate the male protagonist. This is a variation on the kidnapped-woman trope. [why this matters]
The film plays continually — in a way that is meant to be cool and clever — with imagery of dismembered female body parts: these are artificial robotic constructs but are utterly realistic looking. Robots that are coded female and that are intended to taken as “real” — ie, as worthy of our pity, for instance — are treated as objects (and indeed are, literally, objects).
IS THE FILM’S DIRECTOR FEMALE? No (does not impact scoring)
IS THE FILM’S SCREENWRITER FEMALE? No (does not impact scoring)
BOTTOM LINE: While it pretends to an elite intellectual science-fictional ethos, this is more like a mindless serial killer movie that places a sexualized, nearly naked woman in jeopardy so two men can battle over her. And while that woman may be an android, she is intended in every way to be taken as “real,” from her demonstration of self-conscious artificial intelligence to her creator’s insistence that she is fully fuckable. The film could just as well be entitled Sex Machine.
NOTE: This is not a “review” of Ex Machina! It is simply an examination of how well or how poorly it represents women. (A movie that represents women well can still be a terrible film; a movie that represents women poorly can still be a great film.) Read my review of Ex Machina.