The Arrow on JoBlo.com had perhaps the best quote on Ex Machina I could find anywhere when he wrote about this movie “Ex Machina was Frankenstein meets The Island of Dr. Moreau by way of Basic Instinct.” which just about sums this flick up for me.
Quirky introspective Caleb (Domnhall Gleeson) is a twenty something intellectual who works as a coder for a big corporation that runs this universe’s version of Google, ran by a guy (Oscar Isaac) who is basically the serious dramatic version of Lou (inventor of Lougle) from Hot Tub Time Machine. Nathan is said CEO’s name, and he is the brilliant “Dr. Frankenstein” in question here.
Although he spends most of his time in this movie acting like a jock, working out, drinking and doing drugs and being a detached douchebag.
One day Caleb wins a competition to come out to the secret lair of Nathan to help out on his latest project, a robotic woman complete with “real A.I” named Ava (Alicia Vikander) that Caleb is to interview over the course of a week to see if he can detect true abstract thought/real intelligence.
This movie for me was like a low key version of Blade Runner with all the action scenes cut-out.
It’s not a movie for everyone, as it’s a slow burning and very talkative kind of movie. I found it occasionally fascinating, and it never bored me, nor did it enrapture me though. Vikander, and the special effects crew that helped create Ava’s body language were a real tour de force here.
One criticism I seem to be in the majority with is that movie does fall victim to the “one too many endings” trap. Other than that, the pacing is nice and methodical, and the acting is very good.
Some of the dialogue felt a little too self-aware/preachy and philosophical in tone (and then punctuated by the fact that Nathan’s character spends much of the movie underlining the importance of the dialogue by noting whenever Caleb has a good line), instead of like an actual conversation that human beings might have. The atmosphere is claustrophobic and creepy, which I mean as a compliment.
Overall I would rate this as a solid movie, even if it didn’t live up to some of the hype I read, but it’s definitely a smart sexy suspense laden film that I recommend everyone check out. If you’re in the mood for a futuristic neo-noir with a Femme Bot Fatale, this may be the movie for you.
Ex Machina gets a three out of five: GOOD.