I consider myself to be a big enough fan of Domhnall Gleeson to know two things:
1) How to spell his first name without checking IMDB
2) I will make an effort to go and see his new film even if I don’t have a clue what it is about
Ex Machina sneaked into the cinema listings without prior warning and, in what has now become tradition, I didn’t bother to watch the trailer beforehand. I have decided that I will spend the vast majority of 2015 going to the cinema blind. It's suits my overall lazy attitude towards life, the cinema and blogging.
PLOT: Caleb (Domhnall Gleeson), a young computer programmer wins a work raffle and gets to spend a week with Nathan (Oscar Issac) his elusive employer. Once he arrives at Nathan’s hi-tech house Caleb is invited to take part in the Turing Experiment to determine if Ava (Alicia Vikander), Nathan’s AI robot, can experience true thoughts and emotions. As Caleb begins to bond with Ava he realises that not everything is as it seems. END PLOT
I had no idea what to expect from Ex Machina however I wasn’t disappointed with what I got. The plot had the potential to get bogged down in scientific jargon but it was dealt with in such a way that I actually started to feel quite smart while listening to it. The science in Ex Machina was fine but thankfully the script moved away from robot talk fairly quickly and became a tense cat and mouse thriller right up until the wonderfully dark ending. It was one of those rare moments when the tension began to feel scary but I can’t quite explain why. I also had this experience when watching the brilliant Sunshine which was also written by Alex Garland.
The sets were appropriately dark and felt claustrophobic which contrasted with the sharp flashes of green trees and although this also reminded me of Sunshine it is no bad thing. There were times when the artistic style lacked subtly but there can be no denying that it was beautifully shot. Ex Machina had a relatively modest budget of $11million (IMDB) but it looked and felt like I was watching a much bigger film.
Domhnall Gleeson and Oscar Isaac are destined to have a great 2015 and based on their performances in Ex Machina it will be well deserved. The real star of the show was Alicia Vikander as her mixture of delicate features and quiet intensity made her a delight to watch. The actors were perfectly cast and it was their chemistry that brought the script to life.
Ex Machina deserves to be watched more than once in the cinema and I have no doubt that it will hold up after multiple viewings at home. Realistically there will be flaws in logic and science but I don’t care. Ex Machina is one of those rare films that got to me. It gets the first 10/10 of 2015 and it is thoroughly deserved.