Ex Machina Film Review

JMC Academy student George Rasho reviews the recent release 'Ex Machina'... 

As we creep further into the 21st century the inevitability of artificial intelligence surpassing our own is deeply unsettling premise. Alex Garland exemplifies this idea in his first film, Ex Machina.

Garland, who wrote 28 days later is no stranger to noir sci-fi. This noir thriller has flashes of greatness likened to sci-fi/horror stories of the past written by HP Lovecraft, Phillip K Dick and Aldous Huxley. The past few years there has been an increasing number of films dealing with the topic of artificial intelligence. While other films of the same vein like Chappie or Dredd contain lots of action and perhaps superfluous battle scenes, Ex Machina story unfolds in a more subtle way. 

The film is about a young programmer, Caleb who wins a contest to spend a week with his boss in an undisclosed location. When Caleb arrives, his boss, Nathan, is the only one located at the compound. Nathan reveals to Caleb that he was brought there to give a Turing Test, designed to gauge a machines ability to exhibit human behaviour, to a new A.I. named Ava. Ava was built with data collected from the world’s largest search engine “Blue Book.” Blue Book is obviously a thinly veiled analog for Google. Caleb has regular meetings with Ava which start off innocent enough. The conflict arises when he realises that either Ava or Nathan are not being truthful with him. 
The movie gradually builds tension with style. The aesthetics match the tone of the film perfectly, conveying a sense of terror hiding under a thin veneer of civility. What is consciousness? How do we react to A.I.? Ex Machina poses some interesting questions and draws you into a fascinating story full of twists and turns. The only drawback for some is that the films pace may be a little slow. Anyone who has the patience for film noir and cerebral sci-fi will not be disappointed with this one.