Things We’ve Seen: Ex Machina

So how did Alex Garland’s directorial debut go?

The first thing that hits you, is how gorgeous Ex Machina looks. The film is really gorgeous despite it’s low budget. Dom Gleeson, Oscar Isaac and Alicia Vikander pull in great performances. Garland’s film is arranged in a series of sessions, or interviews.

The film begins with advanced coder, Caleb (Domnhall Gleeson), winning at random, a week’s stay with his CEO, Nathan (Oscar Isaac) at a secluded research facility in the mountains.

When he gets there, he finds himself with the offer to administer the Turing Test on Nathan’s latest project, an artificial intelligence called Ava (Alicia Vikander). Caleb is required, by the end of the week, is to decide through a series of interviews, if Ava is human enough.

As far as science fiction tropes go – this is the modern Prometheus. From Mary Shelly’s monster in Frankenstein to artificial intelligence, the same question is asked; what happens if man starts to play god. 

“Isn’t it strange, to create something that hates you?”


Oscar Isaac delivers as a mad scientist with a narcissistic god complex. He is chilling and hateful but becomes strangely charming when juxtaposed with Caleb, who seemingly becomes yet another of Nathan’s subjects.

When the credits started to roll, we inevitably compared Ex Machina to Charlie Booker’s Black Mirror TV series. Conceptually, Black Mirror pushes the boundaries further, using science fiction to ask several questions about technology in daily life. Garland doesn’t offer new material or break new ground; but maybe that was never Garland’s intention.

Ex Machina is currently showing at The Projector.


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