Film review: Ex Machina (15, 108 mins)Thriller/Sci-Fi/Romance.

A vice-like grip on humanity

By The Newsroom
Saturday, 24th January 2015, 8:00 pm
Ex Machina: Alicia Vikander as Ava
Ex Machina: Alicia Vikander as Ava

For his bravura directorial debut, London-born author and screenwriter Alex Garland (The Beach, 28 Days Later) explores mankind’s unquenchable desire to give birth to sophisticated automata that learns from its mistakes.

Ex Machina is a deeply disturbing thriller that explores the murky moral ramifications of creating a robot that could pass for human.

Nathan (Domhnall Gleeson) is a talented computer programmer at a hi-tech firm run by the enigmatic Caleb (Oscar Isaac). Out of the blue, Nathan wins a weekend at the CEO’s remote island retreat and journeys to the lush paradise in a private helicopter. At the compound entrance, Nathan is issued with a security pass that he must carry at all times. Inside, he learns that he has been hand-picked by Caleb to take part in a ground-breaking experiment: to interrogate a functioning artificial intelligence prototype called Ava (Alicia Vikander).

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Very quickly, Nathan grows emotionally attached to Ava and he is distressed when she warns him not to trust Caleb, who will, by necessity, be scrapped to make way for a newer model.

Ex Machina exerts a vice-like grip on our attention, anchored by riveting performances from the central trio.

Star rating: 8/10