Movies – Ex Machina Review (or “A Wolf In Sheep’s Clothing”)

I don’t think I’ve ever been to a film where the guy selling me the ticket has given it his personal seal of approval until today. Indeed, he didn’t just think I’d enjoy it, he guaranteed I’d enjoy it.

And on my way out, he was waiting at the door to find out if I did.

Because as it turns up, he was the director!!!!!

Well, no he wasn’t, but you’d think he had a personal stake in its success.

But was he right? Did I enjoy Ex Machina?

Movies – Ex Machina Review: What’s This One About?

An employee of one of the world’s foremost information technology moguls is selected to live with him for a week and take part in a Turing Test to see if a female AI can pass for a human, in the behavioural sense.exmachina

Ex Machina Review: Who’s In It?

The three main characters are played by Domnhall Gleeson, Alicia Vikander and Oscar Isaac

Ex Machina Review: How Highly Is It Rated?

Apart from the glowing praise of the Cineworld employee, this also gets 94% of Rotten Tomatoes, 8.1 on imdb (although from less than 2,000 votes) and general four star reviews in the press.

But you come to expect that for British movies distributed by Film 4.

Thoughts

My immediate thought upon leaving the cinema today was that Ex Machina is quite an intense, fast paced movie disguised as a serene and ponderous one. It’s like a wolf in sheep’s clothing.

I imagine this is what writer and director Alex Garland was going for, so it’s done very well.

With its quiet, calm incidental music, sedate minimalist environment and generally relaxed characters, you don’t realise too much how quickly the plot advances in the relatively short (by today’s drawn-out standards) 108 minute running time.

The characters undergo quite drastic changes in the six days Caleb (Gleeson) spends with both Ava (the AI, played by Vikander) and Nathan (Isaac) and although there are one or two aspects of the plot that I could see coming from a mile away, it managed to impress and surprise me with its ending.

Without giving too much away, this could easily have gone down the much travelled road of ‘Man Falls In Love With AI’ that has been written about in science fiction for decades. Indeed, at first I thought this was just going to be a modern-day knock-off of the Twilight Zone episode, The Lonely.

But there was more to it than that, and that’s a testament to Garland and his cast.

Though not as exciting or intense as Whiplash – which I saw last week – this is definitely a movie that will grab your attention from the beginning and not let go until the end credits roll.

I just wonder if the themes explored in it are closer to reality – or should I say closer to actually happening in the near future – than we realise.

That would be something…

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