Ex Machina

TO ERASE THE LINE BETWEEN MAN AND MACHINE IS TO OBSCURE THE LINE BETWEEN MEN AND GODS.

Programmer Caleb Smith (Domhnall Gleeson) wins a contest for a one-week visit at the isolated home of his company’s mysterious CEO (Oscar Isaacs); once there, he’s introduced to a new creation, a robot (Alicia Vikander) with artificial intelligence. Writer Alex Garland’s directing debut is a lauded sci-fi drama that plays out methodically and slowly, with well-conceived visual effects that lend terrific support to Vikander’s fine performance. The conversations between her and Gleeson’s programmer turn increasingly intimate and disturbing – on the surface, this is a cold experience, but human emotions are pounding underneath. Isaacs is good as the Steve Jobs-like CEO, brilliant and intimidating.

2015-Britain-U.S. 108 min. Color. Widescreen. Produced by Andrew Macdonald, Allon Reich. Written and directed by Alex Garland. Cast: Alicia Vikander (Ava), Domhnall Gleeson (Caleb Smith), Oscar Isaacs (Nathan Bateman), Sonoya Mizuno.

Trivia: Felicity Jones was allegedly considered for the part of Ava.

Oscar: Best Visual Effects.

Last word: “The way Ava moves is not robotic. It’s like a too-perfect version of how humans move. And in the perfection of those movements, to me, it feels a bit other. It’s quite hard to say why it’s other, it just feels a bit ‘off.’ It just feels a bit wrong. That was an idea that Alicia Vikander, who was the actress, arrived with. [She said], ‘I’ve got an idea about how to play Ava.’ She was a ballerina from age 11. She’s got incredible control over her physicality. She did that job at a very, very high level within Sweden. As soon as she said that, I thought, ‘That is absolutely brilliant.'” (Garland, Gizmodo)

 

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