Saturday, May 2, 2015

Ex Machina

Plot: Caleb (Domhnall Gleeson) spends a week with super-billionaire, computer designer Nathan (Oscar Isaac). Nathan has built a female robot Ava (Alicia Vikander), who Caleb is to interview, and determine if it is a real thinking machine, or just a talk-bot. In a moment of privacy, Ava reveals that Nathan is lying about everything. Two sudden plot twists drive the movie to the end.  [imdb]    [photos]

Review: The coolest part is the visual of Ava's half woman, half robot body with its transparent wire mesh. You keep looking at how her face floats on top of the wire -- very weird.

The dialog is wonderful especially between Caleb and Ava. Almost as good is the philosophical dialog between Caleb and Nathan about the morality of artificial intelligence. 

Having said that, Ex Machina, is basically conversation with robots or about robots, and the pace is slow -- in the art movie style of slowing the pace to let us process the big ideas and symbolism. I found it a too slow generally.

I liked the plot twists, and the overall ending -- though I felt sorry for one of the characters.  

Overall, I was disappointed. I liked the highly conceptual sci-fi story with many issues including sex slavery. It is an average movie bumped up by the big ideas, and dropped down by the lack of fun. The most fun is talking about it later. 

Cast: Domhnall Gleeson--convincing and engaging, Oscar Isaac--not eccentric enough, Alicia Vikander--her robot character does not have a lot of range 

Written and directed by: Alex Garland

The Music: Minimal electronica soundtrack

The Visuals: Great special effects

Rating: 2.5 stars: An average movie, I liked the big ideas, but it was not much fun.  

More: Vikander filmed the whole movie in a gray catsuit, a portion of which you saw on her hips and upper torso. The remainder digitally replaced with her transparent robot self. They left her hands, feet, shoulders natural because CGI'ing them is difficult and expensive. Link

Even More: Ex Machina is another version of Frankenstein.