An original sci-fi movie not in its concept but in its smart narrative and storytelling, and bolstered by great acting from its three principle casts: Domhnall Gleeson, Alicia Vikander and Oscar Isaac.
Alex Garland’s script was interesting and fascinating and leads us to question certain aspects of ourselves, our roles in society now and in the future, and the role of technology in our life. It is not a new concept but the storytelling behind Ex Machina was intriguing.
As a director, Garland has a very stylish aesthetics but the narrative could have been tighter with more focus placed on the “inventor” or the “sessions”. Although kudos for the design and filming of Ava without looking overly CGI.
The title of the movie itself is also a glib choice, playing both to the literal meaning as well as to the missing component of the more common phrase: deus ex machine. And in this case, even the missing God is a double-edged sword.
Gleeson is really going places and once Stars Wars VII hit the screen, his star may just get brighter besides all these indie flicks like Frank and Anna Kerenina, although he seemed to be getting typecast for the moment.
Which is the opposite for Isaac with his very different roles in the critical darlings InsideLlewyn Davis and A Most Violent Year. However, like Gleeson, Isaac has Stars Wars VII and X-Men: Apocalypse on the horizon, and I hope he will still keep doing these smaller, indie films. His maniacal portrayal here was instantly mysterious and creepy but never really evil.
Vikander is another rising star and a co-star of Glesson in Anna Kerenina. Her portrayal of Ava was surprisingly tender and believable, even all the way to the end, she leaves us with the question: Is she an AI?
With these three thespians having had acted opposite each other before, the chemistry was clearly evident and really an inspired casting choice.