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.
Director: Alex Garland
Cast: Alicia Vikander, Oscar Isaac, Domhnall Gleeson, Corey Johnson
Release Date: Apr 10, 2015
Rated R for Graphic Nudity, Language, Sexual References and Some Violence Runtime: 1 hr. 50 min.
Genres: Sci-Fi/Fantasy, Suspense/Thriller
Alex Garland’s directorial debut is one of the smartest and sleekiest sci-fi films in recent memory. Garland’s film is beautifully shot, delivering some stunning imagery throughout. Thematically, it covers some well worn sci-fi tropes but it does it in a wonderfully engaging manner that rarely bores. The actors and characters are all fascinating throughout with each actor delivering some multifaceted performances. Oscar Isaac is quickly becoming a personal favorite of mine and he delivers as the reclusive tech genius. Alicia Vikander is just mesmerizing as Ava. The performance is measured and subtle, rarely overselling any moments but thoroughly engaging. Domhnall Gleeson is solid but sadly he’s overshadowed by Vikander and Isaac. The film is provocative and thoughtful until the final act where things devolve and starts to feel a bit too paint by the numbers. Thankfully, Ex Machina is impressive enough to overcome that small misstep and make a big splash for Alex Garland.