There are genius scripts, and then there are scripts that are obviously written by genius. Ex Machina is an example of the latter.
In this film, we get one of the most pensive takes on consciousness and science. Written and directed by Alex Garland, it takes a lot out of you, but it’s worth it in the end.
Looking deeply into the reality of artificial intelligence, Ex Machina follows Caleb (Domhall Gleeson), a computer coder who wins a contest to live at his billionaire boss’ estate for a week. When he gets there, his boss, Nathan (Oscar Isaac), informs him that he will be part of a project to test if an artificial intelligent being can form relationships with actual humans.
One thing that Isaac excels exceptionally well at is being mysterious. Right away, we’re scared of him, but not sure why, or if we’re even supposed to be. He balances this eeriness while having a charisma about him. Not like Gordon Gekko, but in a way that shows the vulnerability behind his eyes. As though Isaac, too, knows of his character’s vices.
The artificial human we’re given is Ava (Alicia Vikander), who, other than her looks, is a real human to us. Vikander’s every move and vocal inflection convinces us that she is real. And if you haven’t already seen The Man from U.N.C.L.E., you may actually think she is.
While many moments in this film will leave you thinking that it would be well suited as a ’90s Sci-Fi Channel film, others will let you know that this film belongs in mainstream popular culture in every way.
The only downfall of this movie is that it’s so dark it isolates itself from its audience. It hits home, but makes us want no part of it. It tells of too many potential truths. Too many horrors. It’s one thing watching I, Robot, but it’s another to make us believe that somewhere out there, someone is making an artificially intelligent being who may soon walk this earth. It’s a fantastic watch, and a phenomenal movie, but not one I would soon repeat.