Sometimes directorial debuts can be a great thing.
London’s Alex Garland wrote Sunshine and 28 Days Later, both directed by Danny Boyle, and it seems he was paying attention.
Writing and directing here on Ex Machina, Garland has crafted an incredible mash-up of Her and The Terminator.
Domhnall Gleeson is Caleb, a gifted young computer coder who is summoned via an employee lottery to the isolated estate of the company’s enigmatic leader Nathan (Oscar Isaac) to help in the development of a sophisticated Artificial Intelligence program.
While Caleb carries a distinctly naïve aura, there’s a distinct hint of menace about Nathan, as if we’re not quite sure what he may be capable of.
Turns out he’s been experimenting with ultra realistic female cyborgs and wants Caleb to spent the week testing the “She-bot” to see how human she is.
Alicia Vikander is Ava, a striking creation who clearly blows Caleb’s mind on his first encounter.
Not only is she beautiful, intelligent and inquisitive, she also has a clearly mechanical body below her human face, and Caleb becomes enchanted with Ava as quickly as he becomes distrustful of his ingenious employer Nathan and his murky agenda.
Absolutely riveting from it’s opening to it’s harrowing final shot, this sets a new benchmark for films about A.I. and our relationship with machines.
4 & ½ Stars.