Ex Machina – Good, Bad & Ugly Review

Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 91% (Critics) / 89% (Audience)
Directed By: Alex Garland
Written By: Alex Garland
Starring: Alicia Vikander, Domhnall Gleeson, Sonoya Mizuno and Oscar Isaac
Studio: A24
Synopsis: A young programmer is selected to participate in a breakthrough experiment in artificial intelligence by evaluating the human qualities of a breathtaking female A.I. – (Source)

The Good:
Alex Garland (the writer of 28 DAYS LATER and SUNSHINE) does a fine job in his directorial debut. He shows obvious influence from other sterile aesthetic of classic sci-fi films like 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY and THX 1138 while also showing a deft touch at building character moments through the interaction of two actors just acting. He also deserves credit for quite possibly the greatest visual non-sequitur to ever be put on film and resulted in imagery like this:
Man, that scene came out of nowhere and it was just all sorts of awesome; check it out HERE.
A large part of my enjoyment of this movie has to do with the no fucks given performance by Oscar Isaac as the most original mad scientist to ever pop up on a movie screen. Isaac is quirky, manipulative, enigmatic and at times even a bit scary. He just does a wonderful job.

The Bad:
As much as I enjoyed this film there is a certain coldness at its core that leaves a bit of a hollow feeling after it is over. Aside from Isaac’s character there seems to be no real passion in anyone which is fine for the artificial constructs but not so much for the other human beings.

The Ugly:
It is kinda sad that no matter what the new technological innovation, dudes will almost always find a way to sexualize it.

Final Verdict: An intriguing and thought provoking sci-fi character study that plays with audience expectations throughout before a final act turn that shouldn’t be nearly as shocking as it ends up being if you have ever watched a science fiction movie before. Still a great film though.

Grade: A-

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