Ex Machina Review
By: Kyle Pinaro
Ex Machina is a deep and thought provoking film that mixes fear, sexual desire, and deceit and mashes it into something incredible, while delivering something for every sci-fi fan. It’s at times dark with eerie moments of silence and human interaction certainly not aimed toward any average moviegoer.
The film centers on Caleb Smith (Domnhall Gleeson) working for a company called Bluebook, essentially a fictitious Google, in which he wins a trip to meet the CEO of the company, Nathan Bateman (Oscar Isaac). After Caleb signs a non-disclosure form Nathan divulges he’s created a robot with human like features, and the grand prize was meeting Nathan and testing the robot. The test, a Turing test, pits Caleb against said robot and asks it questions to see if the robot is can respond adequately, thus seeing if the person feels like the robot is a human being not a computer system. The robot, Ava (Alicia Vikander) is some of the best CGI I have ever seen, and the way Vikander portrays her movements is so convincing I forgot I was watching an actor play artificial intelligence.
The film is engaging and dialogue heavy, and it’s outstanding. Caleb and Ava’s conversations become increasingly interesting of course as the movie goes on and the film does a great job of showing what attraction is both physically and intellectually. Aside from Ava being the absolute scene stealer, kudos to Mr. Isaac for his incredible performance as Nathan, bar none some of his best work.
The film is shot beautifully and the original soundtrack is so good that it convinces the viewer what emotions they should be feeling. It does do a great job of never feeling clichéd, even addressing a theory the viewer could think of and shooting it down so hard you feel like director Alex Garland was in your head the whole time. Ex Machina is nothing short of electrifying, but it does have its flaws.
Specifically in the second half of the film, it suffers from some unnecessary moments that could have been cut that just really don’t have a lot of purpose to the story, just sort of there for artistic value. It’s also very stoic and dry at times, something many viewers may be essentially “turned off” by. Also the last couple minutes of the film seem forced, and should have ended at a spot three minutes before the credits rolled.
Nonetheless, the film is one of the better pieces of art this year so far and is simply superb. It’s dark and Cronenberg-esque with scenes of incredibly funny comic relief that defy the genre. If you like films with ideas and ones that pick your brain and are always one step ahead of you, then watch this movie. You won’t regret it.
Score: 4 out of 5