Sunday, April 26, 2015

Ex Machina

Movie Name: Ex Machina
Year of Release: 2015
Director: Alex Garland
Stars: Domhnall Gleeson, Alicia Vikander, Oscar Isaac, Sonoya Mizuno, Claire Selby, Symara A. Templeman
Genre: Drama, Sci-Fi
Score out of ten (whole numbers only): 7

"Ex Machina" is the feature debut from celebrated writer Alex Garland (who worked previously with director Danny Boyle on "The Beach", "28 Days Later" and "Sunshine"). The film focuses on Caleb, a young promising software developer who wins a surprise award, to meet the reclusive and brilliant CEO of his company, Bluebook, a company emulating Google. Caleb is initially intimated by the brilliant Nathan, particularly when he finds out the real purpose of the visit - to test the limits of the AI he just developed (an artificial creation by the name of Ava). As the tests begin, Caleb starts realizing there's more to the story than he was initially aware of - in parallel Ava also has her own motivations that become transparent.
Alex Garland in all the features that he has worked thus far (which also includes Mark Romanek's "Never Let Me Go" and Pete Travis' "Dredd"), always introduces a dystopian future and central characters that are discouraged and disillusioned by the state of things. "Ex Machina" introduces the concept of artificial intelligence, created by a billionaire genius (emulating Mark Zuckerberg), with an alarming message that the creation is in fact the demise of the creator. The android figure (fantastically well designed and executed) slowly starts unpeeling her own angle, allowing for this triangle to become a very interesting perspective, between the innocent view, the machiavellian creator and the creature. Unlike the classic story of "Frankenstein", the android isn't feared - she has developed her own plans and agenda. It's a menacing view of the concept of artificial intelligence, and what that represents for humanity. The film features a trio of great performances: Oscar Isaac, Domhnall Gleeson and Alicia Vikander, and also a terrific score from Geoff Barrow (from band Portishead) and Ben Salisbury. A very good film worth watching.