Directed by Alex Garland
I’m not a fan of horror films. At all. That is, unless they are as simply told AND as imaginative as “Ex Machina”. I’m aware most of you will laugh at me for even calling it a horror film, but if the idea of creating highly evolved artificial intelligence in the guise of everyday human beings doesn’t scare the crap out of you, then what will?
Garland has crafted a wonderfully insular (but incredibly full), environment for this thought experiment to develop and take place in. Boasting a script that, over the course of its 13 or so scenes, keeps you interested, invested, guessing, and riveted with pitch perfect pace. And while, at its core, it’s a retelling of an old tale (“Westworld” anyone?), it feels extremely ahead of its time.
Featuring a who’s who of the hardest working actors in showbiz, this movie is further enhanced because of their abilities. I can’t pick out one who was better than the other…so in order of appearance; Domnhall Gleeson (Star Wars, Brooklyn, Revenant) is charming in his naivete, fear, and excitement. Oscar Isaac (Star Wars, Show Me A Hero, A Most Violent Year) continues his claim as this next generation’s Dustin Hoffman. And Alicia Vikander (The Danish Girl, Testament of Youth, Man From U.N.C.L.E.) is better, by far, than I have seen her before…more controlled, and as a result, more deserving of your empathy. And, by the way, all the credits listed were from projects released THIS YEAR – impressive, no? Simply put, it’s an outstanding, and quiet, ensemble. Lovely, even.
The score is, as you might imagine, extremely sparse, but the effects are some of the best of the year. Ava (Vikander) is EASILY the most believable robot yet made for the screen.
I’m not sure why I put off seeing this for so long, but it’s a perfect movie for a thunderstorm…and will please pretty much all adult audiences – it’s just a really simple story told very, very well.
AS USUAL, the trailer gives away more than I would, so watch at your own risk…