Rating – 4 out of 5
Director – Alex Garland
Starring – Alicia Vikander, Domhnall Gleeson, Oscar Isaac, Sonoya Mizuno
Certificate – 15
I went into this film not knowing much about it – only the description of the short and vague Netflix synopsis – and found I was completely mesmerised from the start. This creepy Sci-Fi plays on the fears and unpredictability of artificial intelligence and the future.
The story follows Caleb Smith (Domhnall Gleeson), a programmer at a huge internet search engine company, who wins a competition to spend a week at the private mountain estate of the firms brilliantly intelligent but arrogant CEO, Nathan Bateman (Oscar Isaac).
When he arrives, Caleb learns that Nathan has chosen him to be the human component in a Turing test, where he must determine the capabilities and consciousness of Nathan’s latest artificial intelligence experiment, robot, Ava.
However, the two men find that Ava’s emotional intelligence is far more sophisticated and deceptive than they could have ever imagined.
Director, Alex Garland, did not hold back with the breath-taking visuals and if there is one reason you need to watch this film, it’s for the visuals. The never-ending shots of the vast mountainous estate are beautiful and unusually compliment the sterile and man-made atmosphere of the research facility which Nathan lives in.
Then there is Ava’s visual effects, the detail that has gone into the robot mechanics is extraordinary – no wonder the film won an Academy Award for Best Visual Effects in 2015. You will find yourself lost in the glowing and metallic robotic features of Ava.
Every scene with Ava (Alicia Vikander) is simply captivating. Vikander’s performance is nothing short of enchanting. The mechanical precision in the way she moves, from her walk to a slight facial movement is perfect and contrasts with her extremely human-like emotions and connection with Gleeson’s character, Caleb.
There were only a couple of things that let the film down. I found the ending quite abrupt and was left feeling slightly disappointed after being so immersed in the story throughout. The outcome of their experiment is also quite predictable.
However, the way the tension is built right from the minute Caleb sets foot on the estate is gripping and eases the disappointment. It keeps you engrossed and wondering about the motivations behind of each of the characters and slowly they are revealed.
Although let down slightly by the abruptness and predictability of the ending, the film on the whole is clever and exciting. It does not fail to keep you captivated. A thought-proving Science Fiction which is well worth a watch.
Ex Machina is currently avaiable to watch on Netflix or can be purchased on Amazon.
Featured photo – © Universal Pictures/Film 4