Out Now On-Demand
There is nothing more human than the will to survive.
Young programmer Calbe (Domnhall Gleeson, About Time) joins a secret artificial intelligence experiment run by a brilliant scientist (Oscar Isaac, Inside Llewyn Davis). As the pair develop and interact with the beautiful resulting robot (Alicia Vikander, A Royal Affair), mistrust and deception take hold. The directorial debut of Alex Garland (writer of The Beach, Sunshine and Dredd).
Best Visual Effects winner at the 2016 Academy Awards
Drama, Science Fiction
Rating: R13 Nudity, offensive language & content that may disturb
While the ever-expanding blockbuster culture of the 21st century throws up much in the way of justification for bemoaning the doom of the small-to-medium independent film, there is at least one glorious fibre optic lining. The rapid progression of digital effects technology that has gone hand-in-cyborg-claw with these mega-movies has opened up a gateway for brilliant, mind-over-laser science-fiction explorations such as Moon, Her and now Ex Machina.
Alex Garland, who wrote the novel for The Beach, the script for 28 Days Later and, most recently, Dredd, turns his hand to directing for the first time and the result is astounding. Domnhall Gleeson (About Time) is Caleb, a young programmer working for fictional Google-Facebook hybrid BlueBook, who is called upon by its founder to attend his forest estate and partake in a week of Artificial Intelligence testing. Specifically of Ava the android, the AI prototype played by the ever-captivating Alicia Vikander (A Royal Affair).
What unravels is both a brilliant existential dilemma and edge of your seat battle of wills as the magnetic Gleeson attempts to match wits with both Ava, her inventor and effectively himself as he soon begins to question if he is the examiner or the subject as well as the small matter of what actually constitutes humanity: Self-awareness? Humour? Attraction? Deception?
Everything about Ex Machina is stunning. From Oscar Isaac - outstanding as the uber-brilliant and barking mad inventor and tormentor Nathan – to the design. A glorious sense of style oozes from every pore of the billionaire’s retreat.
Ex Machina is an outstanding noir thriller, disguised as a brilliant sci-fi exploration, wrapped in an architectural orgasm. See it. Immerse yourself in it. Debate it. Love it.
Total Film (UK)
Time Out London
Simple but dialogue rich
Very simple story, very rich dialogue. It uses only 7 interviews to demonstrate what is the Turin test. Wonderful.
A totally engrossing film from start to finish with superb performances from Gleeson, Isaac, and Vikander (what great movie is she not in these days?) With a taunt tale with lies and mysteries around every corner, this is a film that will entertain and have you mulling over the state of our tech saturated world for days to come. Brilliant!
The goal of making AIs more "human" is an interesting one. When it comes to humanity's less desirable qualities - greed, deception, betrayal - are we assuming we will always have the safety net of being the ones in control? The inventor in the film makes causal references to discarded prototypes and the promise of the new and improved - at what point, if any, should we view this behaviour as cruel or arrogant? Knowing what we do about human behaviour, is there really only one way this can go? The film isn't really striving to answer these questions - it's hardly a cautionary tale - but it's endless food for thought long after the credits roll.
Beautifully paced, with an almost dream-like quality, tense from start to finish - helped by a trio of superb performances. Seek it out - see it again.
Wish my Espresso was that good looking!
It's amazing how far technology is going to take us. If it's this good looking, well helloooo! But seriously, if we are as smart as we are then I'm sure we are our own worst enemy. Thought provoking is what I call this movie. Because we can, should we?
Computers that smart and sexy should be like a chrome espresso maker that knows exactly how I like my coffee. A great watch without going over the top sci-fi. So good it makes you believe what we are already capable of... self preservation via CPU.
Twisting and Turing
Nothing (and no one) is as it quite seems in this outstanding sci fi. And Alex Garland drops enough hints along the way to make this very clear from the get go, however it's never enough to give away the major plot changes. I thoroughly enjoyed the sinister feel of this film, and the way the exchanges between the three main characters became increasingly 'cat and mouse'. Amazing cast, with the events taking place in an isolated setting where technology collides with nature. It's an intelligent pretty film and I didn't hesitate to buy the blu ray.
Blah Blah, robot A.i. stuff
So he looks like that guy from ‘New Girl’ with a beard but actually he’s Blue from ’Sucker Punch’, & does a fantastic job acting in this film. Much like most AI movies, this was reminiscent of ‘A.I.’, ‘Her’ yet had great moments of 'iRobot', ‘Blade Runner’, Automata’, ‘Lawnmower Man’ and ‘Jobs’. Hard to believe it didn’t do well in the box office, but then again, it is a thinking film… Thought provoking and enjoyable for after-movie chats.
Genre : Sci-fi (yet sci-fact in parts), drama, growth
4/5 : Seemed slow and a little lacking in edges for the average viewer to hang on to and enjoy, kinda like ‘Old Boy’.
Channeling Frankenstein, meets A.I., and Blade Runner, by way of Robert ‘father of the atomic bomb’ Oppenheimer, Ex Machina is my first hands-down 5 star movie of the NZIFF.
The best cerebal sci-fi experience since Moon, Alex Garland proves he’s more than just the writer of The Beach and 28 Days Later – he’s a fine visual stylist too. His directorial debut is a beautifully shot, scripted, designed and acted sci-fi A.I. “what if?”
A lot of people said they didn't dig the final act. For me though, it was a perfectly executed resolution to a movie that's as much about voyeurism as it is a philosophical musing on the Turing test. It’s basically a three-hander, played out in a single, claustrophobic, if cool, location.
Oscar Isaac is great as the billionaire Bluebook reclusive genius, but it’s Alicia Vikander as android Ava who steals the show. Beautiful, but always artificial, the film never lets go of its central premise, asking what does it mean to be human, and where’s the point where machines cease to run programming and start to think for themselves?
Oh yeah - and it's got the coolest impromptu dance sequence since Pulp Fiction :)
I had high hopes, being an Alex Garland fan, but also a sense of trepidation, having seen The Beach. It was brilliant. As you'd expect from Garland, it's tense, unnerving and creepy, with the viewer unsuspectingly drawn in to the task of performing the Turing test.
A Griping Sci-Fi Movie
Wow. The distributors have made a mistake by not showing this movie in New Zealand. What were they thinking? I was fortunate to see it on a flight to Los Angeles.
I have not been drawn so far into a story this well done, for a long time. The script is tight and believable. The actors are so well cast they are able to develop the story with flawless interaction. It should have been seen in theatres.
It is an amazing thinking movie that I would see more than once.
A thrilling, witty, thinking sci fi film.
I saw this film on pre-release 2 months ago. It is VERY clever, artistically interesting, visually gorgeous, edge of the seat thrilling, and rife with arguments that you can have with friends for weeks afterwards. One of the best sci fi films I've seen in years.
So quite naturally, the distributors are yet to confirm a release date in NZ, despite 90%+ positive reviews on Rotten Tomatoes.
It's out on DVD/Bluray in the UK on June 1. Looks like you'll be able to see it legally that way then. And you'll be deprived of seeing it the way it should be seen, in a cinema with a bunch of other people on the edge of their seats. It's not perfect, but it's a very good sci fi film, and it deserves better than this.