Tuesday, May 12, 2015


Ex Machina

Domnhall Gleeson,
Alicia Vikander


April 10, 2015 (NY/LA)
April 24, 2015 (WIDE)

Alex Garland


1 hour 46 minutes



"Ex Machina" on a broad spectrum isn't necessarily original.  The story concept of man creating artificial intelligence and their creation turning on them has been in countless movies for the past several decades, with some results being good and some being bad.  (I'm looking at you, "Transcendence.")  Luckily this film falls on the good side of the board.  Actually, it falls on the great side of the board.  The film comes from the mind of "28 Days Later" screenwriter Alex Garland, who happens to be making his directorial debut with this as well.  Domnhall Gleeson from "About Time" and "Frank" plays a programmer named Caleb who wins a contest to spend a week with his boss, the CEO of a Google-esque website played by "Inside Llewyn Davis" star Oscar Isaac.   It turns out that Issac's character Nathan has chosen Caleb to be the first human to experiment on his latest creation: the artificially intelligent robot Ava, played by up-and-comer Alicia Vikander.  Ava is a brilliant piece of technology who quickly bonds with Caleb and soon begins to tell him that there's more to the eccentric Nathan that meets the eye.

As predictable as this story may seem, and it pretty much is, there's a lot more to this film than one may expect.  For example, the script is extremely well written.  Not only is there genuinely great pieces of dialogue, but there's also a great sense of bleak and gloom that fill the entire film, even when it's being funny.  Alex Garland shows that he understands how to make a competent and engaging sci-fi that even feels pretty realistic.  The performances, particularly from Alicia Vikander, are absolutely brilliant, as are the special effects on Ava herself.  This might seem like any typical "man playing god" robot movie on the outside, but on the inside is a smart, intense, and even funny science fiction thriller that manages to keep everyone invested throughout.  "Ex Machina" is going to go down as one of the most intelligent and well-made films of the year, hands down.


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