Last updated: 06:45 PM ET, Fri April 24 2015

'Ex Machina's' Cold A.I. Story Filmed Amid Resplendent Norwegian Vitality

Entertainment | Gabe Zaldivar | April 24, 2015

'Ex Machina's' Cold A.I. Story Filmed Amid Resplendent Norwegian Vitality

Images via YouTube

“Ex Machina” is cold but never impersonal; it’s calculating but rarely sinister. It’s about androids, the Internet and computers, but it’s so much about life and vitality. Part of the reason this movie succeeds in the manner it does is the location, which allows for the biggest dichotomy of all.

Alex Garland, who has penned such moody classics as “Sunshine” and “29 Days Later” takes directorial duties for the first time with a film that dazzles the eye and massages the mind.

Now it would have been so easy to infuse the movie with far too much gloom and nuance. However, as you may soon find, there is enough humor, pace and energy to captivate the audience for over 100 minutes.

Now as we mentioned, much of this is the location, which, for lack of a better phrase, is obscenely gorgeous.

While you will have to see the film to get the full complement of Norway’s sweeping vistas, the trailer gives some semblance of what we are talking about here:

IMDB hints at the various locales that served as a backdrop for the likes of Alicia Vikander, Domhnall Gleeson, Oscar Isaac and Sonoya Mizuno.

Both the Valldal valley and Sognefjord in Norway were used for scenes that grab you from the very outset of the film.

In fact, we are instantly hit with juxtaposition from the start, seeing pristine white ground followed by a verdant valley so lush you will want to buy a ticket to the locale from your movie seat.

While Pinewood Studios in England was used for shots, Nathan’s (Isaac) haven from the rest of society was captured at the very real Juvet Landscape Hotel, Alstad (Valldal, Norway).

A YouTuber caught some of the resort in a video a few years ago:

Here’s another glimpse thanks to Juvet Landscape’s channel:

The Independent’s Celia Topping offers a bit more on the history of the hotel nestled in such a picturesque setting: “Designed by Norwegian architects Jensen and Skodvin and opened five years ago, Juvet Landscape Hotel has won plaudits for its organic simplicity, modern design and tranquil setting. It was built as part of a government initiative to develop 18 National Tourist Routes throughout Norway that would improve infrastructure and introduce modern architecture – viewpoints, rest stops and accommodation – to highlight the country's dramatic landscapes.”

The hotel’s website offers more information for those who would like to delve into truly luxurious and lush landscape.

As a sampling of what you can expect to pay, the website states “A double room with breakfast costs NOK 1,450 ($186) per person in a double room. If you would like a three-course evening meal, the price is an additional NOK 500 ($64).”

And apologies, there is no mention of any sentient beings lurking within the resort area, which may or may not be a good thing depending on what you think of the possible advent of artificial intelligence.

But Garland certainly gives you plenty to talk about as you walk with a dizzy afterglow from the darkened theater.

In your mind machines don’t have to be a collection of parts and circuitry. And the idea of consciousness becomes gloriously murky.

While it’s Garland’s brilliance that wins the day, a small part of the accolades go to the destination. Norway provides the cool and eerily calm as well as the lush and teeming with life.

Putting that on display was the perfect platter on which to serve this truly delightful dish. 

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