Movie Review: Ex Machina

(KUTV) Ex Machina
4.5 out of 5 Stars
Director: Alex Garland
Starring: Alicia Vikander, Domhnall Gleeson, Oscar Isaac
Genre: Drama, Sci-Fi, Thriller
Rated: R for graphic nudity, language, sexual references and some violence
Recommended To: those looking for an extremely smart sci-fi drama with psychological horror elements.

Synopsis: Caleb (Domhnall Gleeson) travels to a remote home to spend a week with his reclusive billionaire boss Nathan (Oscar Isaac). Upon arrival Nathan asks Caleb to test Ava (Alicia Vikander), an android that may or may not represent a breakthrough in artificial intelligence.

Review: Alex Garland has written or adapted for the screen some of my favorite films including 28 Days Later and Never Let Me Go. Ex Machina is his directorial debut and the results are spectacular. Garland has crafted a stunning story rife with social commentary, thrills and psychological horrors. It’s an exceptionally beautiful film as cinematographer Rob Hardy, who despite having worked steadily over the last 15 years is unfamiliar to me, perfectly paints the interiors in cold hues and juxtaposes it with the lush greens of the outside world.

While some intellectual films look to confuse audiences with misdirection, Ex Machina is fairly direct. Rather than asking you to figure out what has happened it gives the audience room to question the meaning and ramifications of what has occurred. What starts as an interesting sci-fi film transforms into something more frightening.

The performances are excellent across the board. Oscar Isaac is wonderfully unhinged as the arrogant Nathan, Domhnall Gleeson gives Caleb the perfect mixture of naïve innocence, curiosity and self-confidence while Alicia Vikander beguiles as Ava. Even Sonoya Mizuno, who has no lines, impresses as Nathan’s personal assistant Kyoko.

Despite being fairly early in the year I can say with complete confidence that at the close of 2015 Ex Machina will be in my top 5 films of the year. Will the Academy take note? If not, they clearly didn’t see Isaac and Mizuno dance.



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