Review by Justin Waldman for Mr. Will Wong
Writer/first-time Director Alex Garland has explored a variety of Genres in Film including horror with 28 Days Later, and Dramas such as Never Let Me Go. He takes-on another Genre in his brilliant Ex_Machina. The Film is a glorious combination of suspenseful Drama and Science Fiction as it crosses Genres seamlessly creating what will surely be looked back upon in a similar light to Greats like Ridley Scott’s Classic, Blade Runner. Ex-Machina is a tour-de-force for Garland, and excites us at the possibilities of what’s next to come.
Ex_Machina is about Caleb (Domhnall Gleeson) who was randomly selected to meet the CEO of his Company, Nathan (Oscar Isaac) and run a Turing-like test on his AI, Ava (Alicia Vikander). However, there are some issues that Caleb brings to Nathan’s attention, that don’t seem to garner the results Caleb was hoping for. He brings up problems such as how can one prove that Ava is truly intelligent other than simply running a diagnostic and turning in a correct answer to a posed question; it does not prove free thinking just that she can process and reiterate. The Film continues to go down puzzling roads such as this one, as well as other suspenseful events that will surely leave you at the edge of your seat.
In the case of Ex_Machina, a strong Story is balanced with remarkable performances from our Trio of Stars. Oscar Isaac who has proven that he can be a force to be reckoned with does so again with his puzzling performance of the AI Creator keeping secrets at every turn. As well, Domhnall Gleeson who has worked with Garland prior, delivers another remarkable performance as he captures the fear and mystery not only of his specific Character but of the Film as well. Lastly, Alicia Vikander delivers a performance that places her firmly on the map more so (she currently has five Films in Post-Production) as her performance steals the show. As Ava, Vikander develop from the slightly-curious AI to something much more complex and intricate, as Ava becomes smarter the performance becomes more passionate and ultimately humanistic.
Ex_Machina is a superb Film that captures the essence of Film making in the highest regards. Everything from the performances to the Script, Cinematography and Direction shine throughout and bright. There is promise in Hollywood when a Movie such as Ex_Machina is made and thankfully gets wide distribution, as it deserves the attention and praise it has been receiving.
Mongrel Media release Ex_Machina in Toronto Friday, April 24, 2015, and wide Friday, May 1, 2015.