Since I’ve started this site, I’ve written a lot of reviews. In case you missed some of my earlier ones, I would like to share an older review of “Ex Machina” which originally appeared here.
Sometime in the future, young coder Caleb Smith (Domhnall Gleeson) who works for one of the most prominent tech companies, believed he has been selected as a winner in a contest run by his company. Little did he know, he was selected to participate in an unorthodox experiment. Caleb soon travels from his office job to the isolated home/research facility of his boss, Nathan Bateman (Oscar Isaac) for a week visit. While hidden away in his home, Nathan was working on an advanced artificial intelligence named Ava (Alicia Vikander) and he then reveals to Caleb that the true purpose of his visit is to act as a consultant so he can administer a Turing Test: it’s purpose is to determine if an artificial intelligence’s personality and self-awareness is equal or greater than a human being or if it’s imperceptible to another human being.
The first thing you’ll notice watching is how beautiful it looks so it’s not something you see very often. Despite how much this idea has been covered before, this film seems to cover it in a unique way. The theme makes it a sci-fi film but it isn’t overflowing with all the special effects one would expect except for the android work. The film chooses to focus more on the interactions between it’s few characters where dialogue is used to drive the plot forward. The non-cliche dialogue gives the film a more grounded feel which makes Caleb and Ava feel real and relatable and makes them contrast well with Nathan. The characters are simple yet complex. What also helps this approach is the performances which are excellent, especially that of Alicia Vikander’s Ava who encompasses the role of a plausible android with her actions and movements as well as her facial expressions which perfectly create the allusion of Ava’s “humanness” (for a lack of a better word). The film definitely puts you through on a roller coaster of emotions. This is through the use of lighting and sound where one and/or the other would change depending on the situation. The contrast between indoors and outdoors adds to the tenseness of the plot. The film really speaks as a commentary on what it really means to be human and the ethics involved with the intricacies of the creation of life. Some may not be amused by this. Some may also think that this film is slow but it was not meant to be a flashy action movie and having any of this would take away from the point of the film. Some may not be a fan of the ending and think it was unsatisfying but I had no problem with it. I will just leave it there to not give anything away. With what this film has to offer, the acting, the writing, the cinematography, and the soundtrack, it will be a sci-fi masterpiece. As of today, this has to be the best film of the year.