Ex_Machina (2014) – Film Review

One of my all-time favourite films, and a truly incredible science fiction story, ‘Ex_Machina’ is directed by Alex Garland, the director of: ‘Annihilation’ another sci-fi film that I absolutely love. As the film combines some stunning cinematography and visual effects alongside a smart, original and thought-provoking story that any film fan is sure to adore from beginning to end.

Plot Summary: After a young programmer (Caleb) is invited to participate in a groundbreaking experiment involving artificial intelligence by evaluating human qualities in the subject, he soon discovers not everything is as it first appears…

The majority of the film takes place within ‘Nathan’s home, and the film uses this to its best advantage, as every set for each room of the house always feel as if it’s attempting to be comforting, yet always feels very isolated, cold and sleek at the same time. The entire film also has a great flair for feeling futuristic yet still grounded. However, easily one of the best elements of the film for me has to be the visual effects, as the film actually won an Oscar for its effects back in 2016, and it’s easy to see why. As there are so many amazing shots within the film that are very well crafted, combining real visuals with CG effects and blending it brilliantly.

Whilst all the style is great throughout the film, it shouldn’t take your attention from the excellent performances on display here, as Domhnall Gleeson, Alicia Vikander, and especially Oscar Isacc, all bring their ‘A’ game to the film. As the entire cast has a lot of chemistry with each other, and their performances only elevate the tension-filled scenes throughout the film, not to mention their characters are given a decent amount of depth or though they definitely could be explored further.

The beautiful cinematography by Rob Hardy makes use of a variety of different shots, having the camera constantly in motion at various points throughout the runtime. Always being quite slow yet still very appealing to the eye, with the original score by Geoff Barrow and Ben Salisbury also contributing to the film, as the score manages to be both extremely eerie yet also very beautiful, all whilst sticking to a classic science fiction type of soundtrack.

The writing is also another element of the film that cannot be ignored, as each line of dialogue feels both real and fits the film perfectly. Without ever losing the audience along the way, if I had to give any criticisms of the film, however, as already mentioned it would be the character writing. As although the characters do get some development as the film goes on, we are never given anything that truly makes us invested in them, only bits and pieces. If the characters were developed further throughout the story, I do feel this would’ve made the film a little more engaging.

In short, I still adore ‘Ex_Machina,’ as not only is the film gorgeous to look at as well as being a smart sci-fi-thriller, which really isn’t afraid to delve further into the world of A.I. no matter how dark it may become. If I had to express my criticisms with the film, it’s simply the overall lack of characterisation, and perhaps the conclusion to the film (although this may be just my personal opinion) as I personally found it slightly unsatisfying and a little out of character for some of them. Still, I highly recommend this one, and I really can’t wait to see what Alex Garland does for his next project. Final Rating: 9/10.


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