Fernando M., Here…
It’s very rare that we get to say that a directorial debut is nothing short of a rousing success. Ex Machina is one of the finest films I have seen in YEARS! Written and directed by veteran screenwriter Alex Garland, the brilliant writing mind behind 28 Days Later, Sunshine, and the Dredd reboot; he has outdone himself in every way by taking the director’s chair on his new film.
Ex Machina is essentially a Frankenstein tale redone in a frighteningly plausible future. A brilliant programmer (Oscar Isaac) who runs an incredibly successful search engine takes his talents in a new direction and attempts to develop artificial intelligence. In order to test his new creation, he recruits a young employee (Domhnall Gleeson) to come to his isolated home and interact with this all too human robot and try to disprove that true artificial intelligence has indeed been created.
What happens next is a dialogue driven film that does not pull back on the tension. There are really only 3 actors that share majority of the screen time, but their interactions are so exquisitely formulated that you barely even notice the dazzling special effects utilized throughout.
Domhnall Gleeson spearheads the cast as the one normal human stranded in this surreal sci fi future. He gives us the eyes through which we see evolution unfold. The AI robot, named Ava, is hauntingly played by relative newcomer Alicia Vikander. You really can’t tell if you’re looking at a robot that looks like a woman or a woman that looks like a robot. Vikander gives this character, physically and figuratively, true life. Oscar Isaac is BRILLIANT as a genius who wants to be elevated to the status of a god creator. He completely becomes his character, charming, egotistical, and yes, maniacal.
Everything in this movie is nearly flawless. The dialogue is sharp. The cinematography is gorgeous. The effects are hyper-realistic. The screenplay is magnificent. The script is never shy on wit and interweaves uncomfortable humor throughout, which only adds to our discomfort through this journey. And the plot! I know I said it’s a Frankenstein story, but you’ve never seen it like this; and just when you think you have it all figured out, you realize that Alex Garland is two steps ahead of you. His screenplay says, “Oh, I know that’s what you were thinking, but you didn’t see this coming!”
This is pure sci fi brilliance at its finest. It won’t draw the larger crowds, and it is an uncomfortable film to watch, but this is an experience unlike any other I have ever had in the cinema. This is a near perfect blend of science fiction, horror, independent cinema, and social commentary. It needs to be watched to be understood, and it opens so many doors for so much discussion!
4.5 out of 5 Stars
– Fernando Martinez