How can you be sure this Ex-Machina review was written by a human being?

Cinema‘s fascination with the concept of the technological singularity shows no sign of abating, with recent entries ranging from the sublime (“Her”) to the ridiculous (“Transcendence”). But despite the crowded field Ex-Machina, Alex Garland’s directorial debut manages to find something new and disquieting to say about it in this stylish and well-crafted thriller.

When young coder Caleb (Domnhall Gleeson) wins a corporate competition to spend a week with Nathan (Oscar Isaac), the CEO of his company, he doesn’t know what to expect. Arriving at the remote facility, he’s required to sign a wide-ranging and severe non-disclosure agreement before Nathan introduces him to his experiment: an artificial intelligence called Ava (Alicia Vikander). Caleb is assigned to perform an enhanced ‘Turing test’ but over the course of the week, he begins to realise that Nathan is not being completely honest with him.

Garland’s screenplay is a masterful exercise in economy, essentially a four-part ensemble piece which would be equally at home on the stage as it is on screen. The remote setting, despite its modern Apple-esque technological comforts, is used to terrific effect to create a claustrophobic and unsettling atmosphere that drives a creeping sense of paranoia, bolstered by Gleeson, Isaac and Vikander all delivering skilfully nuanced performances that amplify the uncertainty. The film is a cautionary tale of humanity’s hubris with a strong feminist undertone and, despite the title, has an ending which is as heartbreakingly logical as it is earned. This is top notch sci-fi fare marrying social commentary and technological speculation to create a chilling and all-too-plausible glimpse of the future.

ex-machina
Score 8
logo

Related posts

A triumphant delight, Gerwig’s Little Women (2019) is a new classic cut from the cloth of an old one.

A triumphant delight, Gerwig's Little Women (2019) is a new classic cut from the cloth of an old one.

I must confess that although I’ve been aware of “Little Women” for many more years than I care to remember or admit, I’ve never actually read or watched any adaptations of it before – at least none that I can remember. I knew it was a renowned and respected novel of the lives of four sisters who...

A Fox In The Mouse House

A Fox In The Mouse House

"You maniacs! You blew it up! Ah, damn you! God damn you all to hell!"That seems to sum up most people's reaction to the status-quo-shattering acquisition of the entertainment assets of Twentieth Century Fox. It's also, ironically, a quote which will become the property of the Walt Disney...

There’s nothing grim about cinema’s greatest reaper. Bill And Ted’s Bogus Journey (1991) Review

There's nothing grim about cinema's greatest reaper. Bill And Ted's Bogus Journey (1991) Review

When you’ve already journeyed deep into the past and travelled back to the future, where else is there left to go? For Bill S Preston, Esq and Ted Theodore Logan, the answer is simple: The Undiscovered Country.When De Nomolos, a would-be dictator from the future, sends two robot...

Appropriately, Mnemophrenia (2019) will linger in your thoughts for a long time…

Appropriately, Mnemophrenia (2019) will linger in your thoughts for a long time...

You know that feeling when you’ve had a really vivid dream and someone has done something to upset and annoy you and once you’ve woken up, you can shake the feelings of hurt and resentment immediately so they linger around for hours, maybe the rest of the day. It’s a phenomenon which...