Ex Machina Movie Review
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Impeccable design and thoughtful provocative material make Ex Machina brilliant science fiction.
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.