Movie Review: A24's EX MACHINA


Release Date: April 17th 2015
Director: Alex Garland
Writer: Alex Garland
Main Cast: Domhnall Gleeson, Oscar Isaac, and Alicia Vikander
MPAA Rating: Rated R for “graphic nudity, language, sexual references and some violence.”
Genres: Drama | Sci-Fi
Running Time: 110 minutes

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Alex Garland, writer of 28 DAYS LATER and SUNSHINE, makes his directorial debut with the stylish and cerebral thriller, EX MACHINA. Caleb Smith (Domhnall Gleeson), a programmer at an internet-search giant, wins a competition to spend a week at the private mountain estate of the company's brilliant and reclusive CEO, Nathan Bateman (Oscar Isaac).

Upon his arrival, Caleb learns that Nathan has chosen him to be the human component in a Turing Test—charging him with evaluating the capabilities, and ultimately the consciousness, of Nathan’s latest experiment in artificial intelligence. That experiment is Ava (Alicia Vikander), a breathtaking A.I. whose emotional intelligence proves more sophisticated––and more deceptive––than the two men could have imagined.

Ex Machina is the new science fiction film starring Domhnall Gleeson, Oscar Isaac and Alicia Vikander in the latest edition of man versus himself.

At first glance, Ex Machina looks like a movie about artificial intelligence, but it is really so much more than the typical robot movie. This really is a film about man's willingness to destroy himself via new and interesting ways.  It just so happens that what may bring demise in Ex Machina is a machine of artificial intelligence. 

The story begins when Caleb (Gleeson) wins a trip to Nathan's (Isaac) house for a week. Nathan is Caleb's genius millionaire boss.  Caleb is at Nathan's home in order to test an "AI" or artificial intelligent or as I would know her, a robot. Caleb is there to determine whether the robot is real enough to have actual artificial intelligence. This particular robot is named and AI is named Ava (Vikander). Ava is a beautiful and sad... or is she?  

See almost nothing in Ex Machina is what it seems. Really, almost nothing. The plot messes with the audience's sense of reality and belief system. It's one mind trip of a film, and that is what sets this film apart and makes it worth the price of admission. 

Like Caleb, the audience is on their toes at all times. The audience can't trust what it's told or what it sees.  Everything is relevant and everything is a clue.  A clue to what? Well, you're going to have to watch Ex Machina to figure out what I'm talking about. 

I think this film is smart and intriguing.  It makes the audience think. If you don't get lost in the tech talk, you should have a good time. I got lost in the tech to talk and still had a good time. Gleeson and Vikander are great in their roles. Isaac is the weakest actor of the film.  I had a problem in him as a physical badass.   But, don't let that dissuade you from going to see it.

It really is a good time. The story is intriguing and the acting is great. I know I didn't do the tech part justice, but I hope I still conveyed that it's a good film. You will be guessing at the edge of your seat. Don't take my word for it. See Ex Machina now playing across the country. 

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