Alex Garland’s Ex Machina is is a dark tale of amoral scientists and their creation. Nathan (Oscar Isaac, playing a very different role than Poe Dameron) is a brilliant scientist who has created a mechanical person he has named Ava (Alicia Vikander). He has brought Caleb (Domhnall Gleeson) in to test the quality and authenticity of Ava’s A.I.
Through a series of interviews, Caleb starts to become confused about his feelings. Is he falling in love with Ava? Is This the real intention of Nathan? Or does he have another goal for Ava?
The film is very dialog heavy, mostly we sit through conversations between Caleb and Ava or Caleb and Nathan. As the film unfolds and more is revealed, thing become darker and darker. Intended or not, there is something being said about scientific culture and it’s view of women, but I cannot speak more on any theory without revealing some big twists in the plot.
The art direction and design in the film is beautiful. Ava is clearly mechanical, and yet looks lovely, making her ability to draw a person in believable, even though only portions of her are covered with a synthetic skin.
The three primary actors give solid performances. Isaac’s egotistical Nathan moves from merely appearing to full of himself to darkly detached from humanity. Vikander has a cold humanity. You know what emotions she is expressing, but they seem slightly off. Domnhall gives a strong performance as a bright guy who finds himself feeling more and more like a devastated pawn.
This is a good film that builds very quietly to a dark and tragic finale.