Movie Review – Ex Machina (2015)
Computer programmer Caleb wins a company contest for Bluebook, the technology empire he works for, and is flown to the owner Nathan’s vast residence in the middle of an evergreen, mountainous paradise. When there, he is told he is being given a special one-week assignment. The job is to conduct a Turing test on a robot that has been created by Nathan. This robot may be self-aware, the ultimate achievement and the sign of true artificial intelligence. As Caleb begins to administer the Turing test, getting to know the machine Ava, he starts to identify some major concerns around him in this isolated environment. Tensions mount as things are not what they appear to be, and as Caleb begins to develop feelings for Ava.
This British science fiction film is a complex, insightful piece, which for its slower pace still succeeds in gripping the viewer. There are only several characters in the entire film, and the cinematography is beautiful, futuristic, and minimalistic at times. The visuals help add to the thoughtful nature of the script.
The storyline is fresh and unique, and has number of complicated ideas that we as viewers are given time and space to explore. What are our thoughts about machines and robots with consciousness? Will they usurp humankind in the future? Where is humankind going? These are the ideas that this film sparks, and Director / Writer Alex Garland has done a nice job raising the questions but not getting too preachy, allowing viewers to think about the answers as well.
The acting in the film is fairly good, and the film does often focus on character development and story development as opposed to a lot of action scenes. While the 1 hour 40 minute film does sometimes feel a bit slow and dragged out, overall the slower pacing does work to create a suspenseful, interesting sci-fi story.
The conclusion, without giving away any spoilers, has more than one shocking twist that will leave viewers likely surprised and probably thinking about the themes and ideas raised. When this occurs, you know the film is successful.
Overall: 4 stars out of 5 stars.