Title – Ex_Machina (2015)
Director – Alex Garland (feature debut)
Cast – Domhnall Gleeson, Alicia Vikander, Oscar Isaac
Plot – Computer programmer Caleb (Gleeson) wins an employee raffle that will see him get to spend a week at the home of his reclusive tech genius boss Nathan (Isaac). Upon arrival at Nathan’s home, Caleb soon realises that not everything is as it seems as he is introduced to Nathan’s latest project, Ava (Vikander), an A.I creation the pushes the boundaries of what is real and what is not.
“I am become death, The Shatterer of Worlds”
Review by Eddie on 12/05/2015
Nail bitingly tense, terse and most importantly thought provoking, well renowned British screenwriter and author turned director Alex Garland’s incredibly competent feature debut is one of modern cinemas most memorable and original Sci-Fi’s, a film that you sense will be oft discussed in years to come thanks to its wealth of questions asked and a heralding in of the era of young actress Alicia Vikander.
While Ex_Machina deals with the old aged staple of A.I and the pitfalls of it and what it means to be a human, not a machine, Garland operates his tale with a pinpoint accuracy that mines tension and intrigue from the films first frame to its last and creates a small scale vision that feels entirely in a world of its own. Garland’s vision is a sight to behold and his direction is not far removed from the works of greats such as Kubrick, while Machina largely takes place within the confines of reclusive tech genius Nathan Bateman’s stunningly designed home/ research facility, there is much visually wonderment to be found wherever you look. From the beautiful surrounds of the wilderness outside, the handle-less rooms that operate Nathan’s lavish digs through to the flawless design of Ava the artificial being at the centre of this cautionary tale, Garland has created a small scale yet undeniably impressive universe that manages to mix the smarts, the visuals and the performances into one.
Filled with heart and humour (a trademark of Garland’s works) Ex_Machina features what will be one of the years most accomplished trio of acting turns with well-rounded and pitch perfectly played acting turns. In another sign that he is quickly becoming as good as his father, Domnhall Gleeson plays kindly tech guru Caleb with the right amount of smarts and heart while his scenes with his upcoming Star Wars co-star Oscar Isaac are brimming with underlying motives and tension suggesting that their pairing in this year’s space adventure will be a sight to behold. Isaac shows off a dark side to his growing screen powers and his Nathan is in equal measure sad and dangerous and while the two leads excel, they along with the film itself pale in comparison to Vikander’s star making turn.
With a beguiling beauty and a truly remarkable ability to possess the charms of a human and the persona of an artificially created living entity, Vikander’s Ava is without doubt one of the year’s most stunning creations in both a CGI sense and characterization sense. Ava’s “sessions” with awe struck Caleb may be purely dialogue driven but it’s here that Garland’s study of the not too distant A.I advancement comes to its greatest fruition and it’s in no small way built almost entirely on Vikander’s turn, as Ava is hers through and through, thanks to motion capture abilities. While it’s some time off one would hope that Ava see’s Vikander find just rewards come awards season but Ex_Machina may be slightly to left of centre for the sadly outdated and out of touch Awards ceremonies that dominate the industry.
While it’s not flawless, some motivations and scenarios remain somewhat underdeveloped or questionable; Ex_Machina is a stunning Sci-Fi vision that is also a fully formed thinking man’s thriller. With a jaw droopingly good turn from the soon to be megastar Vikander, Ex_Machina is another excellent example of what makes the Sci-Fi genre such a harbourer of thought provoking classics and further proof that Garland is one of the most consistently good storytellers working in the industry today.
4 and a half dancing showcases out of 5
I’m really looking forward to seeing this film. Yours is one of many glowing reviews.
Your going to love it Livid, it’s a fantastic vision and these 3 actors are all going to be longstayers in the industry.
Great review. Great movie.
Cheers bud. It really was a fantastic watch, it’s great to see it doing so well in the states with limited screens.
Very odd and eerie, but still a solid watch nonetheless. Especially with all of the twists and turns. Nice review Eddie.
Extremely odd mate, that dance scene was something else!
Must-watch for any sci-fi fan. Thought it was a little predictable and slightly too methodical at times, but it was a compelling watch. Good one Eddie.
Very compelling my man, had me on tenterhooks the whole time.
excellent review! echoes pretty much all of my feelings about it. just saw it last night, loved it, although the ending felt a bit jumbled. other than that, top notch. loved the uneasy mood throughout.
Glad you dug it Joel! Was only showing in one cinema in my state but super glad I got to see it as I loved that uneasy mood 🙂
yeah it wasn’t in many theatres up here in my part of bc either! definitely glad I got to see it!
Reblogged this on Eclectic Pursuits.
What’s with the the underscore between Ex and Machina
Have a look at the posters mate, not overly sure why it’s there but to keep in line with that there it is 🙂
Oh weird! Thanks
I think Garland when he wrote 28 Days Later he lacked dialogue but Ex Machin was a tour de force for him and he made this his own. What a phenomenal movie… I’ve even seen it in top 20 lists of best movies of the 21st century already!!!
It’s really a very well written movie mate, very deserving of any hype its receiving.
I’m very excited to see this! Thanks for the review!
Hope you enjoy it Mel – be sure to let us know what you thought once you catch it.
Glad you were able to see it over there. Its my film of the year for sure. Vikander probably won’t nab any awards, but its a role that will be remembered.
Tough to find over here sadly but I can see it being very close to my top film of this year, maybe old Mad Max might top it tonight.
Great review. I liked this movie a lot but it made me very uncomfortable and I couldn’t stop thinking about it for weeks. I don’t do A.I. I’d never sign up for anything involving robots!
Oh it really is a film that stays with you, such a moody piece and just so well written and acted. Looking forward to seeing it again down the line.
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