Writer: Alex Garland (Screenplay)
Starring: Domhnall Gleeson, Corey Johnson, Oscr Isaac, Alicia Vikander, Sonoya Mizuno, Claire Selby
Plot: A young programmer is selected to participate in a breakthrough experiment in artificial intelligence by evaluating the human qualities of a breathtaking female A.I.
There may be spoilers the rest of the review
Verdict: Sci-Fi Seriously Great
Story: Ex Machina starts with Caleb (Gleeson) winning a competition which involves him being taken to an isolated location where a high tech house is where his prize is located. Caleb gets to work with genius scientist Nathan (Isaac) a man that he has the utmost respect for and his boss. Caleb has to agree to a large amount of secretly clause in a contract so he can work with Nathan on the next level of his research.
Caleb has been selected to be the human subject to see how an artificial intelligence can be conceived as real, this means that Nathan has created it but he needs another human to see if his research has push the artificial intelligence levels to the point where humans don’t know they are interacting with a computer. The artificial intelligence in question is named Ava (Vikander) and Caleb gets to have his first conversation with her.
Caleb continues to his interactions with Ava we start to see how Caleb could be stuck in the middle of a battle between Nathan and Ava. Caleb is trying to figure out whether he can trust Nathan or believe what Ava is saying. Nathan continues to show off how he created Ava while Ava tries to make herself come off more human with her look and style of conversation. When Caleb starts to uncover the truth he is left wonder just what is actually real or what is part of an experiment.
Ex Machina has to go down as the sci-fi film of the year very early on in the year. The story is all character driven and is willing to be brave enough to ignore the robot laws we always seem to see in the building AI. The story is filled with twists and turn that really does keep you guessing to what will happen next. I will say that if you are expecting any real action you will be let down and even though the story does end up flying by it could end up feeling slow in parts. This is an interaction based film that is filled with conversation that all become very interesting that gets into the idea of whether creating an AI would be ethical to create to the level achieved. (9/10)
Domhnall Gleeson: Caleb is the skilled computer coder working for a brilliant company trying to reach the next level of the technology battle. He gets selected by the recluse boss to help with his research on artificial intelligence leaving Caleb having to have conversation with the creation leading to an unethical potential relationship. Domhnall gives a great performance but I do feel the American accent does come and go too often. (8/10)
Oscar Isaac: Nathan is the recluse genius boss who has selected Caleb to be part of the research experiment, where he gives away part of the secrets but not all of them as the experiment continue on. Oscar gives a great performance but I couldn’t help but think he was Mr Universe from Serenity with his character actions. (8/10)
Alicia Vikander: Ava is the artificial intelligence created to try and prove that it would in fact be possible to trick a human into thinking they are having a conversation with a fellow human being. She has become smarter than first thought and is enjoying the interaction with Caleb because he is something different to just Nathan. Alicia gives a brilliant performance in an early role but could this really be a star being born? (9/10)
Support Cast: Ex Machina only has supporting cast of previous models used to create the levels that Ava’s intelligence has got too.
Director Review: Alex Garland – Alex gives a great directing debut here with a film that is thoroughly engrossing from start to finish. (9/10)
Drama: Ex Machina manages to make nearly two hours of whether it is right or wrong to build the artificial intelligence seem like one of the most interesting conversations in recent film. (9/10)
Sci-Fi: Ex Machina puts us into a world where artificial intelligence could be used to create the most realistic ideas to date, trying to keep everything on a level that could be achieved rather than making it all theoretical. (9/10)
Settings: Ex Machina keeps the setting as just the isolated research facility for the one week we spend there. (9/10)
Special Effects: Ex Machina uses brilliant effects to make the artificial intelligence creation making them have a human side while showing the mechanical side. (10/10)
Suggestion: Ex Machina is one that really should be getting watched by all but I would understand the fact the casual fans will find it slightly slow. (Watch)
Best Part: Keeping you guessing.
Worst Part: Slightly slow.
Favourite Quote: Nathan ‘One day the AIs are going to look back on us the same way we look at fossil skeletons on the plains of Africa. An upright ape living in dust with crude language and tools, all set for extinction.’
Believability: The research might well be real, but how far it has gone is slightly harder to believe. (5/10)
Chances of Tears: No (0/10)
Chances of Sequel: No
Post Credits Scene: No
Oscar Chances: No
Box Office: $27 Million
Budget: 11 Million Euros
Runtime: 1 Hour 48 Minutes
Tagline: What happens to me if I fail your test?
Trivia: Caleb alludes to the fact that only Gods can create new life. The three main characters all have appropriate biblical names. Ava is a form of Eve, the first woman, Nathan was a prophet in the court of David, and Caleb was a spy sent into a new land by Moses.
Overall: Ex Machina is easily one of the best sci-fi films of recent years that pulls you into an experiment that you just don’t know how it will end.