Film Review: Ex Machina


machinaA mid-’20s computer coder named Caleb wins a mysterious contest to spend a week at a secluded location with Nathan, the reclusive head of the internet search engine company Caleb works for. It seems that all of the secrecy regarding the getaway is that Nathan is in the final stages of perfecting AI and needs an outsider to test his invention. What starts out as an exciting opportunity morphs into something more sinister. As Caleb interacts more with Ava, Nathan’s creation, it becomes less obvious who is in control of the situation.

Ex Machina is a slick-looking and intentionally paced sci-fi thriller for those who don’t mind thinking along with what they are watching. It certainly has its share of stunning special effects that augment the film beautifully, but the movie doesn’t rely on them. Instead, it lets its characters and story carry you. This film was assuredly directed by first-time director Alex Garland, whose writing of films like 28 Days Later and Sunshine certainly aided him with this endeavor. The writing is accessible while discussing high concepts, and core cast are all impressive in their roles.

Shot in Norway, cinematographer Rob Hardy captures some fantastic images in some truly striking locations while a hypnotically soothing score by Ben Salisbury and Geoff Barrow (Portishead) slips into your head without seeming intrusive. This one certainly stays with you afterward.

I would definitely recommend Ex Machina for fans of interesting character studies and cerebral sci-fi. Check it out while it’s still in local theaters.

Ex Machina (2015); Dir: Alex Garland; Starring: Domhnall Gleeson, Oscar Isaac, Alicia Vikander

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