Ex Machina Review

Written By: Sophie

Director: Alex Garland Certificate: 15

Could you differentiate between an A.I and a human? This is one of the many questions Caleb Smith (Domhnall Gleeson) faces in this provocative sci-fi thriller. From the director and screenwriter, Alex Garland, comes the tension of 28 Days Later, the claustrophobia of Sunshine and the futuristic technical bite of Never Let Me Go.

Caleb wins a competition to spend a week with the CEO Nathan Bateman (Oscar Isaac) of the company, Bluebook, which he works for to partake in a breakthrough experiment with a breathtakingly-human A.I. As the week progresses, Caleb soon uncovers the deep and twisted secrets that Nathan is hiding – and it becomes much more than just a simple ‘Turing Test’ between himself and Ava. This spectacular film satirises the advancement of our technology and the power that comes with creating such things, giving you, as a member of the audience, a view of the world from the perspective of one programmer.

Alicia Vikander is a phenomenal actress in this by playing Ava, the A.I that is supposedly the subject of an experiment, and she uses her seductive qualities, more-than-human intellect and authenticity to blur the line between the natural and the artificial. Vikander nails the slightly artificial acting right from the off from a tilt of the head to some hints of irregular mechanical movements; she truly highlights that it is possible to create such a genuine non-human persona – and do that so perfectly.

Although the acting is spectacular, the direction contributes to its inimitability and it would be hard to base the film’s quality on the acting alone. It’s Kubrick-esque style and quirkiness gives you a sense of what good directing is and from the beginning you know that it’s going to be a good one; it may be a film that is easy to remake, but it could not be reproduced in the same way and get the same jaw-dropping effect from most people.

This movie pushes the boundaries of contemporary films which makes it a masterpiece in this world that is so heavily-influenced by technology. It is one of the best films I have seen in a while and I highly recommend it if you are looking for that ‘wow’ factor.