Ex Machina is an R-rated 2015 science fiction thriller film written and directed by Alex Garland. It stars Domhnall Gleeson, Alicia Vikander, Sonoya Mizuno and Oscar Isaac. It tells the story of a programmer who is invited by his employer to perform the Turing test to a humanoid android with artificial intelligence. This is Alex Garland’s first film as a director and after watching it you could say that he struck gold, so to speak. It’s brilliant, clever and psychological. Some say it’s a masterpiece. I say it’s one of the top best of 2015.
Spoilers at the end of the post
The three main actors performed exceptionally good! All true to the nature of their characters and without a flaw.
Ava’s body looks incredible; I’m talking about the CGI. We know it’s fake but at the same time we forget about it because it looks so real. The special effects are masterfully designed.
The cinematography is smooth and shows high contrasts between the inside and the outside world. The inside of the research facility is cold, clean and metallic. Very minimalistic. While the outside world is lush and green and comforting. The whole film shows only the house and the areas outside of it which gives the story an intimate feeling.
The soundtrack is one of the best that I’ve experienced. It has an eerie ethereal sound that has you focused and in suspense, wondering what is really going on in that house. If anything, the soundtrack is a masterpiece.
!!! SPOILERS AHEAD !!!
A brief explanation:
If you aren’t quite sure, Ava did manipulate Caleb the entire time to escape. From seeing how the other android versions tried to escape, Ava knew she had to think her way out. She was never programmed to like or flirt with Caleb as Nathan confirmed. The real test was to see if Ava could manipulate Caleb to help her escape and it was a success. As odd as Nathan may be, he isn’t the villain in this story. The androids have evolved enough to believe they are being held as prisoners. Only with true AI can a thought process like that occur. And with that being said, Ava showed her human nature through survival. By killing Nathan she could be free and be a part of the outside world. Then there’s that last glance she shares with Caleb that’s thought-provoking. Although she did use him, she also developed feelings or emotions for him which she proves by looking back at him one last time.
Remember how Caleb switched the door locks to be opened in case of a power cut? Well when he causes a power cut by trying to access the computers with his key card, the door should have unlocked yet it didn’t. That’s a slight but important flaw in the film.
For a directorial debut, it’s surreal. It is an excellent psychological thriller and I look forward to Alex Garland’s future productions.
Thanks for reading my review!
– Nick Andersen