Cinema Reviews

Ex Machina Review


Domhnall Gleeson goes head to head with Oscar Isaac’s CEO industrialist in this science fiction thinker from the mind of Alex Garland.

Caleb (Gleeson) is a coder who has won a prize at work that allows him to go and hang out with the young CEO of the company in the form of Nathan (Isaac). But once he is there it becomes clear that Nathan is interested in Caleb singing on to do a week’s research on an artificial intelligence project he has been working on.

That project comes largely in the form of Ava (Alicia Vikander), an advanced robot that Caleb is required to spend time with and form a bond with – and then feeding the results back to Nathan. Over the course of the week it becomes clear to Caleb that Nathan is not telling him everything and that there is perhaps a certain amount of danger involved for both him and Ava that he must address.

Like Cronnenberg of yore, Ex Machina is interested in the thought patterns not just of the creation, but of the minds of the primary human characters as well – delving down to discover where artifice and the real meet and how they then overlap and become one and the same. And there is plenty of body-horror on show to see in the form of the constructs that Nathan has assembled, their inner-workings, but also their own (if at times limited) desire to cover their bodies to look and act more human, but also their desire to strip away layers.

As Ava (Vikander) casts a looming shadow on some previous advanced AI movies making them and the purpose of their creation simply embarrassing. You won’t look at Data from Star trek again without questioning his programming.

Ex Machina is a very thought provoking and interesting argument on the basis of engineering something that can be seen as flawless compared to a human being. It’s a terrific directorial debut from Garland and perhaps one of 2015 first “Don’t Miss” opportunities for cinemagoers.

4 Stars




Steven Hurst

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