ex machina

~Rob Fenimore

I’m a sucker when it comes to films that explore the possibilities of artificial intelligence and what it might entail for the future of humanity. I enjoyed Spike Jonze’s “Her” very much, and when I saw the trailer for Ex Machina, I was immediately stuck in the nerdly tractor beam set on on a collision course of having to see it.

Brief synopsis: Young Caleb (Domhnall Gleeson) works for a fictitious company (but really Google). He wins an employee contest to spend one week with the boss, Nathan (Oscar Isaac), an eccentric and slightly creepy genius who has secretly developed the most advanced A.I. created to date, Ava (Alicia Vikander). Caleb’s job is to perform the Turing test on Ava, to determine if she possesses true A.I. The film does an excellent job of setting us up for the unknown. After the first few minutes in, you know you are on a journey where there is little chance of returning the way you started.

One of the things that stands out in the film, other than solid acting performances, is the isolation of Nathan’s research facility. Director Alex Garland often uses silence – a lack of music, specifically – to enforce this sense. It is subtly palpable throughout and really helps carry Ex Machina to a higher plane of existence.

And that is really the beauty of Ex Machina. For a film with very little action, I cannot recall a movie with this much suspense. It is difficult to review a movie like this without spoiling the plot, but I can honestly say I will be thinking about the ramifications of this story for a while. Thirty years ago Ex Machina would have been true science fiction – you know, surely they will never be able to do this kind of stuff. But in 2015, Nathan’s creation provides plausible enough material, easily to be a conversation starter in one’s nerd circle.

In summation, I did not expect to be disappointed by Ex Machina, and I surely wasn’t. It was a solid and creative film that never overstayed its welcome despite the lack of action. The acting was superb and the directing even better. I am glad I took the time to see it, and so should you. I give it 4.5 out of 5 stars.

Rob Fenimore reviews for movies  for GGA. Thanks, Rob and follow Rob on twitter, here!

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