Ex Machina

What will you do if I fail your test?Photo: Universal Pictures
5 StarsWhy I Saw It: Smitten with Gleeson and hoping for a Qualifying Role, and still recovering from 2010’s Garland-penned Never Let Me Go. Also very much enjoyed the Gleeson’s and Vikander’s chemistry in Anna Karenina, and hoping it carries forward.
What I Thought: Ain’t no Deus here, that’s for damn sure; college ethics professors will have an absolute heyday. Highest honors to Alex Garland in his directorial debut. Exquisite and unmissable!

Ex Machina. Dir. Alex Garland (also wrote). Perf. Domhnall Gleeson, Alicia Vikander, Oscar Isaac, Sonoya Mizuno. A24/Universal Pictures, 2015.

A young programmer is selected to test the capacities of an individual named Ava, to determine whether or not they constitute genuine artificial intelligence.

Here we meet the first Best Picture contender of 2015, destined for sci-fi classic status. Ain’t no Deus here, that’s for damn sure.

Picking up the themes of Garland’s stunning script for Never Let Me Go, Ex Machina looks forward to the future, and challenges us either to break with the past or face the very real probability that it will be visited upon us. (Ah, poetry. Cameron may be right.)

Where Never Let Me Go led us down a mysterious primrose path until it delivered a sledgehammer to the forehead as to the nature of the human condition, Ex Machina keeps us guessing until the final stunning and confronting – but arguably not unforeseeable – climax. It’s Chappie‘s smarter, better looking older sibling.

Exquisite and riveting on every level, Ex Machina boasts top-notch performances (particularly by Isaac, who keeps revealing the levels of his wide and considerable talent). College ethics professors will have an absolute heyday.

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