With basically only three characters, one environment and multiple dialogue driven scenes, can the techno psychological thriller Ex_Machina really be as interesting and engaging as it clearly wants to be?
I had been hearing rave reviews about this film since it came out in 2015, but it wasn’t until recently that I actually sat down and watched it. I usually try and keep other reviews and critics out of my head while I watch a movie like this, but I’ll admit I found it hard to lower my expectations after hearing so many great reactions. I knew it wouldn’t live up to the idealistic version in my head. Yeah, I was wrong.
Firstly, the cast in this movie. They act the hell out of this film. Domhnall Gleeson is who I would call the protagonist of this film and he was also really good, for what his character was, but I personally felt like his co-stars really blew him out of the water. Oscar Isaac gives a great performance as the seclusive, alcoholic CEO of a ‘Google’-esc company. He manages to seem like a cool guy that you want to hang out with, but also someone you really don’t know if you can trust. Alicia Vikander plays Ava, the AI that carries this movie on it’s back, and she manages to play a robot in such a way where you do believe she is a robot, but is still able to convey so much more character than most would expect. Some might even say she has emotion. Or maybe not. I guess you’ll just have to see.
This is an extremely slow movie. So much of it is dialogue. If you’re looking for an action film, or a fun movie, yeah maybe not this one. But director Alex Garland made two people talking…enthralling. I spent a lot of this film on the edge of my seat, or even feeling uncomfortable, but in a good way. You never know who you’re supposed to believe, or who’s telling the truth. The tension in this movie is spectacular, it can make you feel uneasy on a dime. But this film isn’t for everyone. You won’t come out of it feeling good, but damn if I didn’t enjoy the experience. There are also a lot of things that this movie makes you think about, ethics and what not, and I feel like it raises some really interesting points that are extremely cool to think about.
But this film isn’t perfect. Yes I’ve been raving about it for the whole rest of this review and to all my friends and family for the past few days, but there are still issues. Like every film. As I have already stated, it’s not for everyone, some people might even call this film boring, and I can 100% see why. There are also a couple of parts in this movie that make no sense, one of them is extremely blatant and you’ll know it when you see it. And I personally felt the film was a tad too long, especially the last 20 or so minutes I felt drag a tiny bit. But that being said, I also feel like most of the stuff in those 20 minutes is important to include in this film so it’s understandable.
In the end, I really loved this movie, and I really enjoyed the ride it took me on. Great cast. Great performances. Great tension. If you haven’t seen it, give it a go, it’s not for everyone but you’ll never know if you don’t see it. And I can’t wait to see what this director and these actors do next.