Alex Garland, writer of '28 Days Later' and 'Never Let Me Go', embarks on his directorial debut with 'Ex Machina', a slick, gripping and beautifully made film that explores contemporary themes and is the best movie I've seen so far this year.
Caleb (Domhnall Gleeson), a talented programmer, wins the staff lottery and jets to his boss Nathan's (Oscar Isaac) rural escape for a week's break only to discover that he's been selected to be part of an experiment. Nathan's latest AI prototype called Ava (Alicia Vikander) undergoes the Turing test with Caleb's help with matters complicated when Caleb falls in love with Ava.
Chronicling the seven days Caleb spends with Nathan and Eva, the film is simply structured but extremely well executed. Set in Norway, the vast and dramatic landscape acts as the Eden to Nathan's God-like persona.
Exploring themes of humanity, AI, consciousness, relationships, gender and even totalitarianism, the film has a level of depth and detail that is exuded from the Jackson Pollock on the wall to the delicious script. Light and colour also play a huge part in the atmosphere of the cinematography.
As the week draws to an end, the intensity of Ava and Caleb's relationship grows, whilst a tense dynamic develops between Caleb and Nathan. The uncertainty of each character's motives, their inner desires and their fears collide in an explosive and sharp climax that is both brutal, tragic and refreshing.
Alicia Vikander- Ava
Domhnall Gleeson- Caleb
Oscar Isaac- Nathan
Alicia Vikander is far from robotic as Ava, managing to convince and move us through all seven days of interactions with Caleb, played by Domhnall Gleeson, who continues to succeed at antiheroic roles, but the real breakthrough is Oscar Isaac who is a natural on film.
Alex Garland's directorial debut is a visual delight. Simply structured, the film focuses its attention on the complex themes and explorations of Human Nature, consciousness and survival psychology. Well acted by all three lead cast members, their rising star status does not distract from the daringly brilliant movie.
Last year it was Spike Jonze's 'Her', this year 'Ex Machina' takes its place as the best movie of 2015 so far.
That house. IS GORGEOUS. Cannot get over the beauty of the detailing, that glass meeting the rock and how it is then carved into the fireplace... ahhhh