Rent Ex Machina (2015)

3.8 of 5 from 1470 ratings
1h 44min
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In the mountain retreat of a gifted internet billionaire, a young man takes partin a strange experiment: testing an artificial intelligence, housed in the body of a beautiful robot girl. But the experiment twists into a dark psychological battle - a love triangle, where loyalties are torn between man and machine.
, , , , , , , , , , Claire Selby, ,
Andrew MacDonald, Allon Reich
Alex Garland
Paul Norris, Mark Ardington, Sara Bennett, Andrew Whitehurst
Universal Pictures
British Films, Sci-Fi & Fantasy, Thrillers

2016 Oscar Best Visual Effects

Release Date:
Run Time:
104 minutes
English Hard of Hearing
DVD Regions:
Region 2
Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen 2.40:1
Release Date:
Run Time:
108 minutes
English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1
English Hard of Hearing
Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen 2.40:1
BLU-RAY Regions:
  • Featurettes: The Story; The Cast; The Design; Creating AVA; The Turing test

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Reviews (10) of Ex Machina

Clever sci-fi film. Recommended. - Ex Machina review by RP

Spoiler Alert

The title is a play on the Latin 'deus ex machina' = god from the machine, which in the context of the film might either be a reference to the god-like abilities of an artificial intelligence, or its creator/inventor, or perhaps a reference (in the common usage of the phrase) to a mere, indeed lazy, plot device. Watch the film, then you choose.

It's about a very rich man (owning the largest Internet search engine) who has created and programmed an android, a humanoid robot, that appears to exhibit intelligence - artificial intelligence. He selects a young, highly intelligent employee to test the android for intelligent behaviour indistinguishable from that of a human - the so-called Turing test. But the android is female - and uses its (her?) sexuality to disastrous effect...

I enjoyed this British sci-fi film. It's clever, very well written, well acted, well directed and beautifully photographed. It moves at just the right pace and it's all over in 100 minutes or so. The basic storyline has been explored many, many times from pulp 1950s science fiction onwards, but here it appears fresh and up-to-date. It asks the right philosophical questions and gets the balance about right between obscure semantics and superficiality.

The acting is good and the Eva character is well played by Alicia Vikander who I have seen in the Oscar-nominated 'A Royal Affair' and the more recent 'Testament of Youth'. The film was written and directed by Alex Garland - his first directorial role - who is known for his scripts for '28 Days Later...', 'Sunshine', 'Never Let Me Go', 'Dredd' and the novel 'The Beach', also made into a successful film. A decent pedigree!

You may find the ending a little rushed (deus ex machina?) but if you've been reading SF as long as I have, it was always inevitable.

Confession: I spent some 10 years working on knowledge based systems, and my normal reaction to the typical movie treatment of any kind of computing, let alone anything about AI, is to cringe at the inevitable inaccuracies. OK, we're still a long way from a fully autonomous humanoid robot, but the philosophical questions addressed by the film are fairly accurately portrayed, although the simplistic question/response technique used in the first tests is reminiscent of the Eliza program dating from 1966 (!) [Aside: If you don't know of this, it's worth downloading a copy - you may be surprised.]

A good film, I enjoyed it and can recommend it. It gets 4/5 stars from me.

7 out of 9 members found this review helpful.

Boy Meets Fembot - Ex Machina review by Count Otto Black

Spoiler Alert

There have been quite a few movies, most of them very silly indeed, in which robots fell in love with humans for reasons that didn't really bear thinking about, especially if the robot looked like a pretty girl, and the handsome young man didn't know she was a robot - "Blade Runner" springs to mind, though that love story has the unusual twist that the girl initially doesn't know she's a robot either. Though sometimes it's the other way round - for example, "Demon Seed", in which Julie Christie is raped by a computer for reasons that would turn the film into an unintentional comedy if it wasn't about rape.

In this film, nobody is under any illusions about Ava's true nature, what with her spending much of the movie walking around minus not just her clothes but most of her skin. What's interesting is the way the film explores the circumstances under which a machine might have emotions which would seem to be not only useless but wildly inappropriate for an artificial intelligence with absolutely no biological imperative to reproduce, let alone any motive to pointlessly attempt to do so with an organic being. The reasons for this, when we finally discover the whole truth, are both more complex than we probably expected, and more logical than they've ever been before in a film of this kind. This is intelligent sci-fi that takes a genuinely thought-provoking look at what might happen if machines developed emotions.

My only real reservation is that at times it's a little too minimalist. Since there are for practical purposes only three characters, it's arguably a bad judgement call to make one of them so unlikeable that every second he's on screen, you wish he wasn't. It's not the actor's fault, since Oscar Isaac is clearly following the director's instructions by playing a person who's meant to be horrible extremely convincingly, but it probably wouldn't have hurt to have enlarged on the redeeming features it's occasionally hinted that he might possess, or to have implied more strongly that he's genuinely unaware that what he's doing is wrong.

I was also somewhat doubtful that any man could fall in love quite that quickly with what is literally a pretty face attached to something that obviously isn't human at all, or even alive in the conventional sense, but these are minor quibbles. This a movie which genuinely tries to get to grips with the idea of humans interacting with creatures at least as smart as they are, and just as emotional, but not necessarily in the same way. I hope the people responsible for the forthcoming "Blade Runner" sequel/reboot saw this film, and took plenty of notes.

5 out of 7 members found this review helpful.

slow story - Ex Machina review by gazmb

Spoiler Alert

Slow moving film with only three actors in it. A wealthy man built and owns a female inteligent robot, fully functional in every way. He invites a worker over to study it thats when things start to change. Its ok but I wouldn't watch again.

2 out of 5 members found this review helpful.

Critic review

Ex Machina review by Michelle Sommerville - Cinema Paradiso

What separates humans from machines? This is the question the 2015 British film Ex Machina tries to answer - or atleast give you more to think about. While definitely not a unique idea, it does approach it in an interesting and refreshing way. I give it a solid four out of five stars.

Ex Machina follows Caleb, a young programmer for the search engine ‘Bluebook’, who is given the rare opportunity to meet the CEO of the company. But the meeting is far from simple, with the visit to the secluded residence turning into an experiment in AI technology. Will Caleb find out more about humanity, or is AI intelligence the way of the future?

As I said before, this is not a new and groundbreaking story idea, but the way it was delivered made it feel different. Once again audiences are forced to think about what separates humans from other species or creations, and whether we have any right to hold that position. The film successfully showcases twists and turns, with an ending not many will have seen coming.

The film was written (and directed) by Alex Garland, who has once again shown his talent. Already the successful creator of films such as 28 Days Later and Sunshine, he has found his niche and this is where he needs to stay.

For the majority of this film, we revolve around only three characters, and yet we don’t get bored or lose interest. This is due to the excellent and thoroughly-planned characters, and the work of the actors. From Harry Potter fame comes the leading man Caleb (played by Domhnall Gleeson). We follow Caleb as he interacts with both his boss and the AI creation, two beings which make him question which one deserves freedom, and which one is a monster.

The other two roles - boss Nathan Bateman (played by Oscar Isaac) and AI Ava (Alicia Vikander) - were also extraordinary and near-flawless.

Like with the writing, Garland knew exactly what he was doing, and the directing in this film was just another way in which audience members were dragged into the world.

As with all films of this genre, the superb visual effects also contributed to making it a success.

Unsurprisingly, this film has been very well-received by audiences and critics. While critics have been quick to point out its similarities to previous sci-fi films, they have similarly commended its direction and differences.

Despite not including what you would call ‘big name stars’, Ex Machina has shown itself to be an interesting tale that will keep you in your seats - and perhaps on the edge of them - throughout the entire film. Obviously its ‘R’ rating means it is not appropriate for young viewers, but, if you’re a fan of science-fiction, this is a film for you.

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