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.