In Reviews

April 9th, 2015

MOVIE: EX MACHINA

STARRING: DOMHNALL GLEESON; OSCAR ISAAC; ALICIA VIKANDER

DIRECTED BY: ALEX GARLAND

AMovieGuy.com’s RATING: 4 STARS (Out of 4)

The eerie truth of Alex Garland’s science fiction film Ex Machina, is how real all the science is becoming. While watching this instant classic about two men studying an artificial intelligence named Ava (Alicia Vikander), I feel the cold reality that our technology today knows more about me than I do. We are followed by GPS trackers in our cell phones so everyone knows where we are, Edward Snowden has revealed that the American government is monitoring us, and Amazon.com has a good idea that I love Ridley Scott films. If you think all of these things are creepy, just wait till you see one of the best movies of 2015, Ex Machina

Caleb (Domhnall Gleeson) works for a global search engine company called “Blue Book” (think Google). He is the winner of an employee contest, and his prize is to spend a week-long vacation at the mansion of genius creator and CEO of “Blue Book”, Nathan (Oscar Isaac), who is a bearded bro. Always getting a “pump” in the morning to sweat out last night’s booze. “Can we just get past the whole employer, employee thing?”  Nathan lives in a sort of fortress which sits above and below ground, all operated by generators and computers. Although Caleb thinks he’s getting away from his hard work, he has actually been selected to assist Nathan in conducting what’s called the “Turing test” on Ava, his recent invention. She is a highly functioning Artificial Intelligence, and while her face and hands have the skin features of a human, her torso and arms are transparent and have visible wires. Through these tests, Caleb will challenge if robots really can become human, but could also lose his sense of self in the process.  

Director Alex Garland has made a superior work of science fiction, with surprises after each scene. Through sound that is comparable to a film like Under the Skin, a setting that mirrors the claustrophobic hallways of The Shining, and science (although somewhat made-up) that relates to all our worries in Citizenfour, this film works on every level. This is not a retread of past films, but a progression on science fiction of recent. Technology is always surrounding us, and films such as Automata, Terry Gilliam’s The Zero Theorem and Ridley Scott’s Prometheus are asking the questions like, “Is where we are going with our technology safe?”, and,  “Is it wrong or right to play God?”. Ex Machina stacks the deck with themes like sex, creation, and meeting your maker. All of the things we think about today.   

Caleb sits in a room with Ava, the two of them studying each other, asking questions like a battle of robot vs. human wits. “How do you feel today Ava”? “Do you know why I was brought here?” Each question is strategic and as the conversations continue. Ava’s relationship with Caleb begins to have the feel of two humans in the room, not a human and an A.I. Further they will go, as Caleb begins to even wonder, could he be a robot himself? Or is Nathan not the person he says he is? I cannot reveal much, you just have to go see this movie. 

Ex Machina could be my favorite movie of 2015. That sounds like a bold statement this early, but the performances from both Isaac and Gleeson are superb, and as it progresses, you are sucked in to it’s mad technology with fear of what it’s all capable of. Alex Garland was the writer of Danny Boyle’s films 28 Days Later and Sunshine, but this film shows the promise of a director who could make a name for himself. This movie about robots is so good, it’s scary.

4 Stars

Written by: Leo Brady

leo@amovieguy.com

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