Ex Machina Movie Review
Hot chicks can be dangerous. They mess with your mind, make you do things you normally wouldn’t do. They can manipulate you just with the way they look at you, the way they smile at you and cock their head. The same applies to attractive robots that may be much, much smarter than you, and one young man pays the price in Ex Machina, easily the best movie of 2015 so far.
Domhnall Gleeson stars as Caleb, a brilliant programmer who is invited to his even-more-brilliant CEO’s reclusive estate/research facility to conduct tests on what he soon discovers is the first true artificial intelligence. Her name is Ava (Alicia Vikander), who possesses a female-looking body and a curious, playful demeanor. But as Caleb soon learns, things aren’t quite what they seem.
But I’ll stop there, because Ex Machina deserves to be experienced with as little prior knowledge as possible. Directed by Alex Garland (writer of 28 Days Later, Sunshine, Never Let Me Go and Dredd), Ex Machina is one of the most enthralling, captivating, intelligent, well-acted and beautiful films made in a long time.
Gleeson and Vikander are terrific in their respective roles, their on-screen chemistry electrifying. But it is Oscar Isaac, playing a brilliant, obsessive, frat-boy-nerd-combo with some dark secrets, who blows everyone else away. In a movie where there are only three actors, even one just-okay performance could derail everything, but Isaac delivers such a complex, unpredictable and engrossing performance it may actually take a while for you to realize just how f**king good he really is.
Acting aside, Ex Machina is simply mesmerizing. Every moment is pitch perfect, from the way lines are delivered to how Garland slowly lets the audience in on his world’s secrets. The sets are fabulous, complementing the moody atmosphere that never gives you confidence in what type of movie you’re watching. Is it a drama? A thriller? Something else entirely? You don’t really know until Garland has assembled everything and pulled back the curtain.
Ex Machina is an amazing exploration into the advancement of the “human” mind, into the potential of technology. It is, at its core, incredible and pure science fiction. But it’s entertaining, too, extremely accessible and enjoyable on a visceral level.
It’s too early to say that Ex Machina is the best movie of 2015, but it certainly is the best movie so far.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.