Ex Machina, a science fiction thriller, depicts the story of genius multimillionaire, Nathan Bateman, who owns the most popular search engine on the web. Through random selection he invites one of his programmers, Caleb Smith, to assist him in testing one of his latest inventions. The test, taking place at Nathan's secluded estate, consists of testing out his latest Artificial Intelligence with a method called the Turing Test. This program establishes a machine’s ability to exhibit intelligent behavior equivalent to, or indistinguishable from, that of a human. For those of you, like myself, who like things to be put into simpler terms it basically means that Nathan built a robot, and Caleb is there to test it.
Nathan Bateman is played by Oscar Isaac, whose performance let’s say is “pretty awesome” for lack of a better term. To be honest, I wasn’t a big fan of Isaac until I watched his incredible Oscar nominated performance in the movie, Inside Llewyen Davis. Now with this film, I can safely say that I’ve become a true fan. His ability to portray a complex character like Nathan in the believable and relatable way that he does is truly notable. Domnhall Gleeson, who plays Caleb Smith, fits the role perfectly. I don’t know how much effort Gleeson had to put into this performance or if it came easily to him, but he definitely does an impressive job of it. Alicia Vikander also accomplishes a decent performance of the A.I., Eva. It was a convincing enactment (not that I would know what a Robot would actually be like), but it seems like a realistic interpretation. Although, nothing really remarkable, I wouldn’t put that on the actor’s ability as much as I would put it on the uninteresting limitations of the character. For some reason I expected much more out of her character being a Robot with virtually unrestricted intelligence. But that’s just me. In terms of the writing and directing of this film, Alex Garland has revealed incredible talent. The story is very well written with a few unexpected twists. The visually enticing shots and thrilling soundtrack retain your attention throughout the film.
In my opinion, Ex Machina is a highly entertaining film that keeps you on your toes all the way through. With this in mind, I’m giving it a 4 / 5 stars. If you like thrillers, whether or not you like science fiction movies, I’m sure you will enjoy watching this film. Make sure to schedule it into your entertainment plans!