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Ex Machina

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Within moments of fading-in, young computer programmer Caleb (Domhnall Gleeson) learns he has won a week-long vacation at his boss’s (Oscar Isaac) secluded mountain home. The egotistical Nathan, notable for his creation of a Google-like search engine called Blue Book, summons his employee with an ulterior motive. He’s planned a week-long “Turing test” of his latest creation: A.I.

The viewer and Caleb are quickly engrossed in the next-level set design and beautiful terrain that define Nathan’s research compound. Glass and rock-form walls create mesmerizing labyrinths with which Caleb has limited access. He’s reluctantly agreed to his boss’s solid non-disclosure agreement with hopes of breaking the barriers of artificial human consciousness.

Caleb, with his hypnotically dull expression, is thrust into daily interactions with Ava. Played fantastically well by Danish actress Alicia Vikander, Ava quickly matches wits with her new human friend. There’s something irresistible about Ava that arouses Caleb. Is he falling for her?

For unknown reasons, Nathan is constantly battling his home’s advanced security system and power grid. Or is he? The power outages create convenient windows for Ava and Caleb to communicate without Nathan observing them through numerous cameras. In one pivotal scene, Ava reveals to Caleb that she should not trust Nathan, he is not a friend. One thing becomes clear, Nathan hasn’t been very forthcoming with his motivations.

Nathan is an absolute drunkard and is outwardly chauvinist. His staff are sexual set pieces, frequent slaves for his pleasure. But Oscar Isaac, with his magnificent beard, is excellent in every frame. His disco dance scene rivals Travolta. He’s the stand-out actor next to Vikander.

But in reality, Nathan is probably not a good guy, which spurs Caleb to action. Caleb devises a fool-proof plan to break his android companion of her chains.

Ex Machina is directed by first-timer Alex Garland, best known for writing gems 28 Days Later and The Beach. This first outing directing his own story is ridiculously good. I emphasize good. I couldn’t help but feel themes from Westworld, one of my all-time favorite science fiction films. There is an air of danger and voyeurism adding to the eerie claustrophobic atmosphere of this film. Ex Machina is very smart material sure to excite genre fans.


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Movie Reelist Contributor: Chris Giroux
Chris Giroux is founder and editor-in-charge at Movie Reelist, an entertainment news and review blog serving the most fanatic moviegoers. Chris started his publication in Detroit in 2010 and has since reviewed hundreds of films and interviewed numerous talent across the country. He is an avid film festival attendee and red carpet photographer, having shot the likes of Steven Spielberg, Bill Murray, Mark Hamill, and more. Chris grew up in New Mexico, where he studied mass media writing while working in post-production and multimedia authoring. It is also where he discovered Big Trouble in Little China and Escape from New York, resulting in an unhealthy Kurt Russell obsession.


  1. Serioisky? An 8.8? I thought we saw the same movie. But then you were about 30″ closer than I. Mayne Mich was lost in the distanceB-).

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