Movie Review: Ex Machina
Stars: Domhnall Gleeson, Oscar Isaac, Alicia Vikander, Sonoya Mizuno, Corey Johnson,
Rated R for for graphic nudity, language, sexual references and some violence, 108 minutes, Drama/Sci-fi
Compare to: Blade Runner (1982), Her (2013)
Notice how there haven’t been many movie reviews lately? They should stop releasing such sucky movies so often. If I’m elected president, I vow to to only have good movies released during my reign of terror.
Had I been ruling with an iron fist at the current time, Ex Machina would definitely be getting its release. Though it may be too slow for those looking for a fast-paced Action/Sci-fi blowout, Ex sets its tone, keeps to it, and you really won’t be able to guess what will happen next.
Computer programmer Caleb wins a week at the home of the reclusive techie genius, Nathan, in the secluded mountains. Strange as it is for Caleb to be out of his element at the home of an offbeat and immensely wealthy man like Nathan, Nathan’s intentions aren’t just to hang out, but also for Caleb to perform several tests with his newly created android, Ava. If Caleb is convinced of Ava’s competent intelligence, they’ll both go down in history in their own ways through this world changing technology. Though the real test could be whether or not Ava wants to play her role as a subject to be studied.
I had literally only seen one shot of the film and read that Alex Garland (28 Days Later, Dredd) was writing/directing. And while that was enough for me to want to see this, I could only hope it would be as entertaining as I find much of Garland’s other work. Though after watching it, it’s much easier to compare it to some earlier Science-fiction films than it is anything else Garland has done, most notably Blade Runner of course. Good or bad, critics won’t be able to resist the comparison and neither have I.
With some parallels being drawn, a major connection between Ridley Scott’s classic and Ex is the tone. Slow, smooth, and occasionally shifting into creepy. And man, does it get creepy. A human’s face on a robo-body is strange enough, much less with actress’ Alicia Vikander throwing in some familiar yet off facial expressions for good measure. You’ll be able to see the humanity in her yet you’ll just as quickly get goosebumps from her transition back to robotic.
While we’re nowhere near the technology shown in the film (but what do I know?), Garland does a good job of keeping the technobabble at a minimum without making the story feel as though they’re trying to brush you away from what could or couldn’t be. The human element is perhaps the most important aspect of the film.
From the emotionally isolated Caleb (Gleeson) to the physically distant Nathan, the back-and-forth between what it is to be living and alive is so constant, it permeates the film and having it explained doesn’t do it justice. The movie isn’t preachy, with frequent jabs at “lazy humans that take freedom for granted” but throughout the story, you may wonder who is or isn’t actually alive. No really, at times you might think some of the humans in the movie may be robots themselves.
If you’re going with your significant other who doesn’t care about movies or your friends who are going just to have something to do, this isn’t the movie for that. If you’re ready to settle in and soak in a film with the dialogue, story, acting and effects for a great Sci-fi film, check this out.
Positive: Just about everything you want for a long lasting Sci-fi movie is in this thing. What people were saying about ‘Her’ that I just didn’t relate, I got my fill here.
Negative: Too slow for some, not every great movie is for everyone