Ex Machina Review

Since its release, I’ve been told by countless people to go watch Ex Machina. That it’s this groundbreaking film about A.I. that has a lot of surprising twists and turns. Naturally, I was excited to see it. And after watching Ex Machina, I liked it! Just, not as much as everyone else seems to.

Ex Machina stars Domhnall Gleeson as Caleb Smith, a programmer who wins a one week trip to the home of  Nathan Bateman. Bateman owns a large software company called Blue Book, and has secretly developed a human-like artificial intelligence named Ava (Alicia Vikander). Caleb has been brought to the luxurious and isolated mansion to test Ava and determine whether she is actually capable of having a conscience.

Throughout the film there is this unsettling relationship that forms between Oscar Isaac and Domhnall Gleeson. I could at no point guess what they were thinking or where their conversations would take them. Constantly I felt a lot of tension on screen between the two of them, that at one point either of them could completely snap. This was probably one of the strongest points of Ex Machina, as the film was able to keep me guessing what the characters would do next.

Another factor I really liked about Ex Machina is the eerie performance by Alicia Vikander as the humanoid artificial intelligence, Ava. She has this level of deception about her that kept me very interested in her motives. She really isn’t the character you think she is and she acts pretty unpredictably.

I guess that would have to be the truly great thing about Ex Machina. That I never knew where the film was going. The unsettling tone of the film always had me on my toes, wondering what would happen next. And what actually unfolded on screen was always different than what I assumed.

Now, I don’t think I was as blown away or mesmerized by Ex Machina as many others were. I’ve heard some people call it the best film of 2015, which definitely is not the case. I enjoyed it and thought it was a good film with some interesting points and great acting. However I don’t feel like Ex Machina was saying anything revolutionary or groundbreaking, as some people would have you think. There are plenty of films about artificial intelligence that have much more to say than this. I think saying Ex Machina is the best film of the year is being a bit pretentious.

Another slight problem I had with Ex Machina would be the ending. I felt it took a very  unnecessary turn towards slasher flick territory that didn’t really fit the rest of the film. I guess you could argue the film had been building up to it from the beginning, but this scene really detracts from the point Ex Machina was making.

Ex Machina is a quality film worth giving a watch. The performances by Domhnall Gleeson, Oscar Isaac, and Alicia Vikander are all spellbinding, and never knowing where the film would take me was a lot of fun. So while I didn’t think the film was saying anything revolutionary, there is definitely enough content there for viewers to be satisfied with.

The Verdict: B

-Zachary Flint

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