Ex_Machina (2014) – Film Review

One of my all-time favourite films, and a truly incredible science fiction story, ‘Ex_Machina’ is directed by Alex Garland, the director of: ‘Annihilation’ another sci-fi flick that I absolutely love. As the film combines some stunning cinematography and visual effects alongside a smart, original and thought-provoking story that any film fan is sure to adore from beginning to end.

The narrative begins when a young programmer (Caleb) is invited to participate in a ground-breaking experiment involving artificial intelligence, by evaluating human qualities as the subject. Yet when he arrives at the home of the A.I’s creator, not everything is as clear as it first appears to be.

With the majority of the film taking place within ‘Nathan’s home, as every set for each room in the house always feel as if it’s attempting to be comforting, yet always feels very isolated, cold and sleek at the same time. The entire film also has a true flare for feeling futuristic yet still grounded at the same time. However, easily one of the best elements of the film for me has to be the visual effects, as the film actually won an Oscar for it’s effects back in 2016, and it’s easy to see why. As there are so many amazing shots within the film that are very well crafted, combining real visuals with CGI effects and blending it brilliantly.

While all the style is great throughout the film, it shouldn’t take your attention from the excellent performances on display here, as Domhnall Gleeson, Alicia Vikander and especially Oscar Isacc, all bring their ‘A’ game to the film. As the entire cast has a lot of chemistry with each other, and their performances only elevate the tension filled scenes throughout the film, not to mention their characters are given a decent amount of depth or though they definitely could be explored further.

The beautiful cinematography by Rob Hardy makes use of a variety of different shots, having the camera constantly in motion at various points throughout the run-time. Always being quite slow yet still very appealing to the eye, with the original score by Geoff Barrow and Ben Salisbury also contributing to the film, as the score manages to be both extremely eerie yet also very beautiful, all whilst sticking to a classic science fiction type of soundtrack..

The writing is also another element of the film that cannot be ignored, as each line of dialogue feels both real and fits the film perfectly. Without ever losing the audience along the way, if I had to give any criticisms of the film however, as already mentioned it would be the character writing. As although the characters do get some development as the film goes on, we are never given anything that truly makes us invested in them, only bits and pieces. If the characters were developed further throughout the story, I do feel this would’ve made the film a little more engaging.

All in all I still love ‘Ex_Machina’, the film is gorgeous to look at, as well as being a smart sci-fi thriller, which really isn’t afraid to delve further into the world of A.I. no matter how dark it may become. If I had to express my criticisms with the film, it’s simply the overall lack of characterisation, and perhaps the conclusion to the film (although this may be just my personal opinion) as I personally found it slightly unsatisfying and a little out of character for some of them. But overall, I highly recommend this one, and I really can’t wait to see what Alex Garland does for his next project. A solid 9/10, honestly couldn’t recommend this one more, definitely give it a watch if your interested.

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