The film of the neurotic tech billionaire who tries to create the perfect humanoid is set in an idyllic landscape with rolling hills and a lot of greenery that can be seen from the house where the narrative takes place.
The juxtaposition of the tech billionaire’s motive and his hoard of previous and failed attempts at creating Science Fiction’s answer to AI capabilities and the setting of Norway’s mountain ranges is not lost on Ex Machina’s audience.
In fact, it creates a sense of tension that the film is dependent on. There is a sense of eeriness that can be dismissed by the audience, and that, in part, is due to the setting alone, though, what a beautiful place that would be to live if terrible experiments on consciousness weren’t taking place. At least, that is, if we all lived inside of the Ex Machina world.
The film begins in a computer programming company, where Caleb wins a competition to work and meet with the reclusive CEO of his company. Caleb later arrives at the home of Nathan, who intends to have Caleb help out with the amazing capabilities of the AI he has created and housed inside a female robot.
Though it isn’t long before the sinister truth is revealed, and as the name of the title suggests, the audience is treated to a pitiful person who has a god complex.
The AI female bot is designed to attract Caleb in ways that the computer programmer isn’t aware of because Nathan has taken the time to concoct the image he sees on the robot. Drawing from different search images across Caleb’s browsing history from the pornographic to ex-girlfriends, all as a sadistic ploy, on Nathan’s behalf, to see just how realistic his creation can be.
Though the house in the film is the setting of monstrosities and abominations, and I’ll leave it up to you to guess whether I mean the AI capable robot or Nathan.
Behind The Magic
Ex Machina’ was filmed over four weeks, and two of those took place at the Juvet Landscape Hotel. The British-made film produced a live-action nuance, something rarely seen in Science Fiction films. Part of the reason behind this was to capture the nature outside of the Juvet Landscape Hotel (The neurotic billionaires home).
The other two weeks were filmed at Pinewood Studios, which is located in Buckinghamshire, England. Beautiful and regal in its nature, and the studio itself, much like the Juvet Landscape Hotel, is dedicated to making a sustainable future.
To keep the scenes as natural as possible, any special effects were added in post-production, and the lack of fluorescent lights kept an overused Sci-fi trope at bay. Making Ex Machina,’ one of the films ranked alongside Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey.
The lack of green screen use for the nature outside of Nathan’s home is something the movie’s creators wanted to emphasize, and rightfully so. At its core, the film’s premise is to debate the ethics and morality of creating sentient beings and then reducing them to subjects of what is essentially torture. The harsh contrast between the beauty of Norway and the brutality of creation is a perfect blend for a forward-thinking movie.
Nathan’s Home in Its Natural Habitat
Juvet Landscape Hotel is in Valldal, Norway. It is the property where ‘Ex Machina’ is shot, and it’s a world of difference from how the film frames the property as being isolated and the epicenter of devious creation.
The hotel itself is home to a magical realm of mountains, trees, hills, valleys, and streams, and you can view this from the seamless windows in almost every aspect of the house. It is a great space to feel at one with nature, without the necessity of sleeping on thin camping mats and lugging your personal belongings around with you for days on end.
You can retreat to the writers room, where you can compose music, write a script, or get started on that novel you’ve always wanted to write while being inspired by the views outside of your window. It’s no wonder the ‘Ex Machina’ was shot in such a beautiful location because it draws together the idea of how opposed nature and technology can truly be.
Not only this, but visitors can visit The Barn for food, where the delegacies are locally sourced to help the conservation of the beautiful wildlife around the Juvet Landscape Hotel. From the success of the film and the awe-inspiring views, it is no surprise that the hotel is a melting pot of cultures and world travelers.
You may not meet an AI-capable robot, but you might meet someone just as interesting around the table in The Barn.
Making A Trip to Juvet Landscape Hotel
Thankfully, for those movie buffs among you, there is a way to visit the Ex Machina’s house, and you can live out your dreams while peacefully enjoying the views. Though don’t worry, there aren’t any cupboards filled with old test subjects, and you won’t be subject to experiments either.
You’ll also be able to access beautiful walking trips, skiing expeditions, hiking, and climbing activities, as well as water sports if you choose to do something other than stare at the scenery while you’re there.
The Unesco fjords Tafjord and Geirangerfjord are only an hour’s drive from the beautiful hotel built into the Landscape of Juvet. Not only this, they are a unique formation that can only be found in Norway and slightly North of Norway as well.
It is rare to find a house, hotel, or any large structure that, by building, it is molded in and out of the land it stands on, especially one that has housed more mysteries and adventures than most others. For that reason, the Ex Machina house, beyond production and outside of the science fiction world, will still have that spark of magic to it.