Synopsis: A computer programmer wins a competition to spend a week participating in a breakthrough AI experiment at a remote research facility.
Stan's thoughts: Just the subject matter, artificial intelligence, generates an environment of suspicion, add in a lone scientist in a remote location and you have all the ingredients for a good thriller. What makes this a great psychological thriller is that Garland constantly wrong foots you and at its heart it is about very basic human emotions.
Domhnall Gleeson who plays Caleb the computer programmer said in an interview that when he was reading the script for the first time he was convinced several times that he knew where the story was going. And that really is why this works so well.
When Caleb steps off the helicopter that has transported him to the research facility he is stepping into an alien environment in so many different ways. His task is to interact with Ava (Alicia Vikander), an AI robot who is the invention of Nathan (Oscar Isaac). It is not just a case of what is real and what is AI but what is experiment and what isn't and Garland and his characters keep you guessing right to the very end.
All three leads give performances that beautifully add to the mystery but to say any more might spoil it.
Ex Machina, like many AI films before it, raises questions about God and creation and the morals and responsibilities surrounding that. What the film has to say about that is something that film school students will no doubt discuss at length. I've also seen online discussions about whether it is misogynistic or feminist in its outlook. I do have my own thoughts and theories but that would involve a lot of spoilers.
- Stan’s 80%
- IMDB 81%
- Metascore 80%
- Rotten Tomatoes 93%
- RT Audience Rating* 86%
* Number of people rating 3.5/5 or higher