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Ex Machina shows once again that a robot can either pass the ‘Turing Test’ or it can follow Asimov’s Three Laws of Robotics… never both.
Celebrated author and scriptwriter Alex Garland (The Beach, 28 Days Later) turns director in this straight forward sci-fi fable. If anyone had any doubts about Garland making the transition from writer to director, Ex Machina has emphatically allayed those fears. Ex Machina looks beautiful throughout and Garland brings the best out of a talented cast.
Domhnall Gleeson follows his excellent performance in Frank with another assured turn as ‘rat in a maze’ Caleb. Gleeson played a robot himself in Black Mirror, in a story not too dissimilar to this one. In truth, the plot behind Ex Machina is a familiar one, drawing from such commonly used sources as Frankenstein, Kubrick and even Terminator. Garland’s twisting and unpredictable script and an excellent score keeps things fresh however as well as the performance from the cast.
Alongside Gleeson is Oscar Isaac who is quickly becoming the next big thing and Isaac is masterful throughout Ex Machina. Gleeson and Isaac have a great chemistry, which bodes well for the upcoming Star Wars sequel in which they both star.
Rounding off the cast is Alicia Vikander as Ava – A heady mix of Hal: 9000 and Pris Stratton from Blade Runner. Vikander more than holds her own with Isaac and Gleeson with a vulnerable yet confident turn.
Ex Machina is hardly original and even all the biblical imagery and symbolism is par for the course but when executed so brilliantly it hardly matters.
For every good movie about AI there are ten bad ones. Ex Machina is one of the best.