Ex Machina. “You Shouldn’t Trust Nathan, you shouldn’t trust anything he says”.

Ava says this line the first time that her and outsider Caleb are alone. Ava is an advanced AI, a robot with conscience and its own mind. Caleb is a guy who wins a competition to get to meet his reclusive boss and meet Ava and interact with her. Let’s go back a bit first.

Caleb is flown to a location by helicopter to meet Nathan, a man who owns the technology company Caleb works for and has created an AI which he wishes to test. Caleb has won a week at the “home” of Nathan, which is actually a research lab that houses Ava. Ava is the latest model of AI which exists from the many attempts to create Artificial Intelligence. To test it, Nathan asks Caleb to take part in an experiment similar to the “Turing Test” (To see if a computer can act and be passed off as a human). Caleb agrees and gets to meet Ava. Over time, they begin to connect and learn about each other. Caleb finds himself intrigued by Ava and wants to find out a lot about her and how she works. Nathan keeps a watchful eye on proceedings, until a blackout happens (a series of them happens throughout the film) and Ava tells Caleb that he needs to be careful.

Over time, Caleb begins to wonder about just how honest Nathan is being to him and this in turn begins a series of tests or “sessions” with Ava and Caleb trying to discover more about his boss. During this time, Caleb begins to wonder what to believe and seems to prove the Turing Test a success. When Nathan also reveals that he wants to see how it would work in reverse (see if you can still believe it to be human even when you see it is not). Ava also begins to change as she becomes comfortable with her new friend, even beginning to dress up for him to blur the line of human and robot even more. With a number of twists and some shocking scenes, you are left with almost no idea who to trust and who is really the one you should be careful of. With Caleb at times conflicted, he looks to take matters into his own hands to make right with what he can. But, can you trust a machine that has been purposely made to be sexualised and empathic? Can you trust its creator?

Alex Garland makes a superb directing debut and produces yet another brilliant script. Knowing the Sci-Fi genre well, he uses his usual trademarks. In depth characters who keep you asking questions, intimate cast and compelling story is what Alex Garland is great for. The special effects mostly only for Ava are brilliant, you would find it hard to believe it was CGI. Ava actress Alicia Vikander really shines. You see her basically comfortable with herself, but also wanting to be free. Her acting is so intense and at times so endearing and her movements are graceful throughout. You fall immediately for her. Oscar Isaac (who will soon be in Star Wars VII and X-Men: Apocalypse) makes you really confused on his character, but in a good way. You don’t know whether Nathan is good or bad. He is a great guy to have a drink with, but also seems to be very set in his ways. Nathan never really strikes you as a bad guy, though you will question his actions. Domhnall Gleeson is also spectacular (though his accent could have just been Irish), his interactions with his co-stars are the foundation of the movie and he is really the soul of what gets you through the 108 minutes of this movie. Little fault I can find in this film, surely the ending could have been better executed, but it was still satisfying after seeing what we built up to. Possibly the best Sci-Fi movie of the decade!

Final rating: 9.5/10

Written by Jonjo Cosgrove

ex machina poster

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