| | Drama, Sci-Fi
Review - Matt Mungle - @themungle
EX MACHINA is a great Sci-Fi film. Keeping in mind that sentence does not work if you take out the words "Sci-Fi". It is not a great film. But for the genre it is a step in the right direction in regards to having a futuristic feel with limited characters and a mind altering soundtrack. It gave me the same feeling as when I watched Logan's Run in the 70's.
The film is simple in its premise. Caleb (Domhnall Gleeson) is a young computer coder who wins a contest put on by the owner of the high tech company he works for. The owner Nathan (Oscar Isaac) is one of those reclusive bazillionaires who has been creating advanced electronic programs since he was a fetus. Caleb's prize is the opportunity to spend a week at Nathan's lab/mansion in order to evaluate his latest creation; a female A.I.
Ava (Alicia Vikander) is the most advanced artificial intelligence robot ever created. Caleb's job is to study her and determine if she passes the "Turing test" which is a test of a machine's ability to exhibit intelligent behavior equivalent to, or indistinguishable from, that of a human. As the test goes on the questions surface as to what is really going on. Can Caleb trust Nathan? Is Ava's perceived interest in Caleb legitimate or a test of it's own? The film takes some twisty turns on its journey to an explosive final scene.
The graphics in this movie are incredible. The transformation of Vikander into the Ava we see on screen is perfect. You can't tell where machine stops and human starts. Her mannerisms and innocent facial features hook you into believing that she really is AI driven. Isaac gives us a genius CEO that is part Tony Stark and part Hugh Hefner. You can't tell if he is sincere in his appreciation of the naive Caleb or if he is maniacally malevolent. The two sort of do a dance through out the film.
The Sci-Fi junkies will drool over the lab and gadgets that are constant throughout. It is futuristic without being inconceivable. Also there is a very sexy nature to the film that permeates the script with seductive undertones. During the day it is all business as Caleb and Ava converse about life and feelings. But at night Nathan has a tendency to bust out the booze and drink himself into a stupor.
EX MACHINA is rated R for graphic nudity, language, sexual references and some violence. This is certainly an adult film. There is quite a bit of female nudity in the film. Granted it is supposed to be a robot draped in skin like covering. But we all know what we are seeing. The dialogue has many sexual references but there is little actual sex in the film. Certainly an 18 and over film.
I give it 4 out of 5 key cards. It borrows the good stuff from past Sci-Fi films and creates this new, fresh, and stylized futuristic flick. Writer/Director Alex Garland has given us a story and characters that are worth seeing again and again.