Tuesday, January 5, 2016
Movie Review: "Ex Machina"
One day, Caleb (Domhnall Gleason, General Hux from The Force Awakens), who works for a major internet company, finds out that he has won a major prizethe opportunity to spend a week at the remote mountain retreat of the company's reclusive CEO, Nathan (Oscar Isaac). Caleb is blown away by the compound and its surroundings, although Nathan's genius, as well as his hard-partying nature, makes him a little ill-at-ease.
It's not long, however, before Caleb understands why he was chosen to win the prizeNathan has created the world's most sophisticated artificial intelligence, housed in the body of a beautiful female robot, and he wants Caleb to evaluate just how successful and human-like the A.I. is. As Caleb begins interviewing Ava (The Danish Girl's Alicia Vikander), he is quickly struck not only by her beauty, but by the interest she shows in him.
The more time he spends with Ava, the more he is drawn to her, and it appears she feels the same. But are these feelings true, or just programmed? Does she know what she is actually speaking of? At moments it appears Ava knows full well what is going on around her, even as Nathan is spiraling out of control. And then Caleb realizes that he is a pawn in a bizarre and troubling game of cat-and-mouse, but he isn't sure who has controlNathan, Ava, or himself.
I didn't know much about this movie before watching it, but it hooked me right away. Vikander is utterly mesmerizing, and Caleb isn't the only one she had watching her every move. She so perfectly portrays the mix of human intelligence and roboticsthere are times you watch her discovering herself and her abilities and it's hard to believe Vikander is an actual human being. While she has gotten a lot of well-deserved accolades for her work in The Danish Girl, she's also gotten some recognition for her performance in Ex Machina, and this is where I hope she snags an Oscar nod.
Gleason does a great job balancing the naivete of his character with his sudden desire to take control of the situation. I found myself wondering how long he was aware of what was going on before he acted. Isaacof whom I'm a huge fandoes a pretty great unstable, paranoid, and somewhat evil genius.
This is a movie which will have you thinking long after it's over. You'll marvel at what the filmmakers did, and you won't be able to get Ava out of your mind anytime soon...