NZ Film Festival – Ex Machina Review

Ex Machina is the sort of film that just floats around in your mind come it’s conclusion.

Written and Directed by Alex Garland of The Beach fame, he takes us through a tale of what defines consciousness and life.
Starring Oscar Isaac, Domhnall Gleeson, Alicia Vikander with support from Sonoya Mizuno, this handful of actors is tasked with taking us through a story that takes place in an isolated house in the middle of a remote forest.

Caleb Smith (Gleeson) is invited to this getaway after winning a Staff Lottery that teams him up with his companies CEO, Nathan Bateman (Isaac), for a week.
When he arrives, he discovers it was all a cover to have Caleb used as an Analyst for Bateman’s latest project. This project is an A.I who goes by the name of Ava (Vikander), whom Bateman wants Smith to use the Turing Test against. If she passes this, she would be the first A.I developed who is seen as “human” rather than “artificial”.
As the week goes on, relationships develop and secrets are revealed that culminate in a deadly game of “True or False” that has consequences that weren’t calculated for.

The reason the film resonates is that conversation you have after it’s credits roll. You question if you missed anything or if what you watched had any truth to it. Vikander stands out as Ava, delivering a naivety to the character that makes you wonder what it means to be human. Gleeson and Isaac are wonderful in the screen-time they share, offering a side to the story that is markedly different to the chemistry between Vikander and Gleeson.
Even though it all takes place in one location, it has a surreal beauty to it with technological wonders that offer a modernity to it that makes it seem closer to our time rather than further away.

Ex Machina is easily a stand-out at the festival and deserves to be viewed on the big screen before you do repeat viewing on the small screen.

Summary

Seriously, just watch Ex Machina. It is a damn good film.

5

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