Cert: 15 Runtime: 108 mins Director: Alex Garland Cast: Alicia Vikander, Domhnall Gleeson and Oscar Isaac
There is nothing more than human, than to survive
28 Days Later, Sunshine, The Beach and Dredd all written by the great Alex Garland. He is one of the best writers to come from the U.K in the last 30 years. He has ventured from books to screenplays now his directorial début Ex Machina which he also wrote. The trailer grabbed my attention from the beginning and my further reading just made this even more interesting. What is Ex Machina about? At 24, Caleb (Domhnall Gleeson) is one of the top coders at Bluebook – the world’s most successful internet company. He thinks his luck is really in when he wins a competition to spend a week at the remote Alaskan mountain retreat owned by the company’s manipulative, reclusive billionaire CEO, Nathan (Oscar Isaac). Nathan reveals that Caleb is to become the human part of brilliant mathematician Alan Turing’s famous test to determine whether a machine can successfully pass itself off as human. The subject of this bizarre experiment is the world’s first genuine artificial intelligence, which is contained within the body of an attractive robot girl named Ava (Alicia Vikander).
This is nothing but a great British film! Not since Moon have I admired a sci-fi/thriller film, I can imagine Ex Machina ending up on my best of 2015 list. Personally I thought the ending was going to be a gigantic twist, but I was very surprised how it actually unfolded. The screenplay is great it’s very humorous at some points but also the whole technological jargon seemed logical but you do have to take it with a pinch of salt. There are many messages we get from Ex Machina mainly about our humanity, sexuality and technology. I’d rather not get into it as I don’t want to spoil anything. For Alex Garland’s first film he has done a great job, he has a great eye for detail. Nathan’s house is impressive for some reason I felt at some points I was in Spike Jonze’s Her. But it’s an impressive spectacle and the scenery is just breathtaking Norway is a beautiful country. Garland’s tone seems sinister and it felt like a wolf in sheep’s clothing. You know something bad is going to happen but we just wait. The camera has a nice flow to it, from the way we follow the characters around the labyrinth of a house to the intimate conversations between Caleb and Ava. A beautiful piano theme plays methodically, with often mix of silence setting the unique atmosphere. Ava’s general A.I look was just visually stunning, her face is just beautiful on the android body. It looks truly believable!
This will not be the last time we see Gleeson and Isaac together in a film as they are both starring in Star Wars VII. They work well together here, Nathan and Caleb are completely different but connected by their passion for technology. Isaac is to some degree is the villain of the piece. He portrays what a secluded billionaire might be, lonely and twisted with some killer dance moves. Isaac’s prowess keeps climbing and climbing. Gleeson plays nerdy loner rather well. But he has just deep meaning in Ex Machina, he is a noble heart but naive. Alicia Vikander as the beguiling Ava, who absolutely passes for being ‘almost human’. Her precise movements -walking, standing or stooping to pull on a pair of stockings- have just that slight tinge of the uncanny about them to suggest a mechanical skeleton, yet she is undeniably seductive. You can really understand Caleb’s mental plight as she begins to show signs of a sexual interest in him! Ex Machina is worth any ones time, hopefully when it goes out in the States it will be appreciated as much as we are praising it. This is a true thriller to be witnessed by all (Fear the machine!)