Ex Machina Review


     Ex Machina is the reason I love science fiction. Back in the late 60s to the mid 70s, science fiction was a bit of the beacon for expressing ideas and commentary on who we are and where we are as a society. You wouldn’t think it now, but Planet of the Apes fit into this troupe. As much as I do love me some giant robots beating the shit out of each other, I was lamenting the thought provoking sci-fi of yesteryear. Thankfully, Ex Machina is the great throw back to the time of ideas.
     The film centers on a programmer, Caleb (Domhnall Gleeson) who is invited to participate in an experiment by the head of his company Nathan (Oscar Isaac) to interact with an AI named Ava (Alicia Vikander) to see if it is truly able to feel. Basically, can a robot actually feel, instead of being programmed to feel. Yeah, it a smidge of a mind fuck.
     So, what happens then is just a series of scenes that display whether what is actually being done is ethically, or even morally right. Be warned, this movie is a slow burn, meaning it takes its sweet fucking time. I love that personally. The filmmaker doesn’t treat you like an idiot, he actually let’s you observe, think, and then process what was just said or seen. It’s hard to go into details about the movie itself without getting into spoilers, since that’s when the true themes become apparent.
     Since this is a story about ethics, and not explosions, the performances have to be damn good, and they sure as shit are. Gleeson has the thankless, almost straight man, role echoing a bit of reason into the proceedings. It’s low key and subtle, do it gets the job done. Isaac though has the most fun with his role as the inventor, and is able to restrain himself enough that he comes off a bit too real, so he’s very disturbed. Vikander gives such a unique performance as Ava, where she’s curious yet not like a child though there’s a wonder to her. It’s actually pretty layered. Wow, it’s an amazing performance.
     I get that we’re in the season of sci fi action extravaganza, but don’t you want to take a wee bit of a break from it? Well, here is that sweet, sweet smoke break after an overwhelming shift. It does the mind good, mine is still racing with questions about who were are as a species. It kind of brings to mind since anime’s I’ve seen, Ghost in the Shell in particular. Ex Machina proves that you don’t need frills to tell a compelling story, but themes and characters that bury into your mind. So go see it.


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