'Ex Machina' (2014) - Film Review

Updated on June 15, 2020
 
 
Running Time
108 minutes
Rating
15
Director
Alex Garland
Writers
Alex Garland

“One day the AIs are going to look back on us the same way we look at fossil skeletons on the plains of Africa”

Synopsis

Caleb Smith is a programmer that wins a contest, giving him the opportunity to be part of the greatest scientific experiment of all time. He must interact with and assess artificial intelligence in the form of a female robot.

  • Caleb Smith (Domhnall Gleeson) is a computer wiz who is granted the opportunity of a lifetime as he gets to be part of an experiment that could change the world. However, when he encounters Nathan (Oscar Isaac), the creator of this female robot named Ava (Alicia Vikander), he is sceptical of Nathan's motives and forms a close bond with Ava.
  • Nathan is the creator of the world's biggest search engine and architect of Ava. He has a real problem with alcohol but he has a brilliant mind that is constantly on the clock. He seems friendly enough, but all is not what it seems as he is always the smartest man in the room.
  • The movie follows Caleb as he takes part in the tests that Nathan monitors as they try understand and interpret Ava's thoughts.

Positives of 'Ex Machina'

Ex Machina is a superbly directed and meticulous movie that will constantly keep you guessing. As an audience member, I consistently found myself trying to figure out which angle each character was coming from, as you never know their motives. The movie is filled with tension and a style that is aesthetically gorgeous. This is a real cerebral science fiction movie that tries to access the human psyche.

  • Thought provoking - This film is a real thinker, but on many different levels. The story itself always keeps the audience guessing as there are an abundance of twists and turns. The movie gives you enough information to tell a complete story, but there are loose ends which are open to interpretation. What you choose to take note of, or who you root for during the film, may be different to others and there are no clear answers. There are genuine surprises that you do not see coming throughout the film and make complete sense when you get to the end. It also has some alluring messages about humanity and its relationship with technology. This will possibly force some audience members to see life in a different way.
  • Characters - All of the characters in this movie aid the storytelling as Garland never reveals their true intentions. It adds a tension to the film which is really hard to pull off. All the characters are nearly perfect. From the way that they speak, to their clothing, to their personalities, it's all carefully chosen to convey different aspects and themes within the movie.
  • Manipulation of Audience - This is such a hard technique to perform in a film, but Ex Machina is successful in its performance. All the characters are chosen for a distinct goal. In different parts of the movie, you think you who know the protagonist is, but then it changes and the audience never knows who they are supposed to be supporting.
  • Cinematography - The movie is beautifully shot and very stylish. It has an alluring vision to it, which represents the secludedness of complex where Nathan lives. It is depicted as a lonely place and some of the rooms have a real claustrophobic feel to them. Especially Ava's room, which for me, made me feel sorry for her and represented how she had nowhere to go. She is depicted almost like a pet.

“Isn't it strange, to create something that hates you?”

Performances of Note

The acting is arguably the strongest aspect of this movie. They all clearly have great chemistry and a lot is riding on their performances as there are so few characters. However, they are all fantastic and help to build this awesome movie.

  • Domhnall Gleeson (Caleb Smith) - He plays this role superbly as Caleb Smith's character arc is never known to the audience. All of the actors do a brilliant job of never letting their true intentions be known. He compels the audience into thinking his character can only act a certain way, but he definitely surprises you. His persona will change dependent on who he is talking too and he forces you to worry about what actions he will take, creating real tension.
  • Oscar Isaac (Nathan) - Oscar Isaac’s performance is amazing, because his character has an abundance of interesting character traits. He is a really smart guy, but he is also a drunk who likes to work out; these are three very different attributes. How he manages to tie all of these traits together is a testament to his acting ability. He is also very mysterious and has an arrogance, which forces him to the think he always has the upper hand. He believes he is more intelligent than anyone and anything.
  • Alicia Vikander (Ava) - This is my favourite performance of this movie as Vikander adds something different to her robot character that I haven't seen before. It’s a very physical role and her mannerisms are that of a robot, but it's never over the top. Her performance is just on that brink of natural and unnatural, which adds a great sense of realism to the film and Ava as a character. Brilliant

“If you've created a conscious machine, it's not the history of man. That's the history of gods"

Negatives of 'Ex Machina'

There are a couple of small negatives that I had with Ex Machina. But they are minor compared to my love for this film and do not dent my opinion too much.

  • Pacing - This is a slow built movie and that can be an issue for some people. I realise that this film will not be for everyone and I happened to enjoy the slow build up. But it does take some time for things to get into motion and I can see this being an issue for some people. However, it really is a movie you want to stick with!
  • Cliché - Some of the events of the movie could be looked at as quite cliché because technology, and its relationship with humanity, is a subject that has been looked at before. Personally, I did not see the twists and turns in the movie coming. I was really surprised by what happened. But perhaps people with more intuitive skills than my own may be able to work out what will happen. Regardless, anybody who enjoys sci-fi will enjoy watching this movie.

“Impulse. Response. Fluid. Imperfect. Patterned. Chaotic.”

Overall

This is such a sublime movie and I want to get as many people as possible to watch it. The camera work is beautiful and the storytelling is so engaging. The way it manipulates the audience and forces you to think is a really cool aspect of the movie. Cerebral is the best way to describe this film, as its going to make you constantly questions your thoughts. It had me talking about it days after the screening and thinking of different themes the movie was trying to express. I found myself looking through different characters point of views, and my opinions of the characters is still consistently changing. Fantastic movie!

5 out of 5

5 stars for 'Ex Machina'

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, reelrundown.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://maven.io/company/pages/privacy

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
    ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)