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The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

Movie Review – Low-budget Ex Machina reaches high

By Rodrigo Valverde/reporter

With its brilliant storytelling and stunning visual effects, Ex Machina proves that the smaller films are the ones to look out for and some of the most impactful. 

This is arguably the best film of the year so far.

Alicia Vikander portrays Ava, an artificial intelligence that develops a human-like personality, in Ex Machina.  Photo courtesy Universal Pictures
Alicia Vikander portrays Ava, an artificial intelligence that develops a human-like personality, in Ex Machina.
Photo courtesy Universal Pictures

Known primarily for his screenwriting, Alex Garland makes his directorial debut with this sci-fi thriller that not only captivates with its characters and story but provokes thought about the advancement of technology in the world today. It is hard to believe such exceptional work can come from a first-time director.

The story follows Caleb, played by Domhnall Gleeson, a young programmer working for the search engine company Bluebook, essentially a fictional Google.

Caleb wins a company lottery that awards a meet and visit to the company’s CEO, Nathan, played by Oscar Isaac, at his secluded home in the mountainous wilderness. It is quickly revealed that Nathan’s home is also a research facility.

During his visit, Caleb is appointed by Nathan to perform a Turing test on a highly advanced android that he’s been experimenting with named Ava, played by Alicia Vikander, to see if Caleb can relate and interact with her as if she were human and if this android can be considered a sentient being. Caleb forms an attachment with Ava, and conflicts ensue when it is discovered her intelligence is proved more advanced and deceptive than anticipated.

The film is constantly changing and surprising viewers, taking turns that one would not expect and keeping them eager to see what happens next.

The three main actors do phenomenal work. All give standout performances and add depth to their characters that make them interesting and compelling. However, Vikander mesmerizes with her portrayal of Ava, giving the perfect balance between human and A.I. and deserves high praise for it.

The setting of the film is also beautiful. The shots of the wilderness and even the compound where the majority of the film takes place are some to remember. Also, for a relatively low-budget film, the special effects of the android’s look are flawless.

Ex Machina holds nothing back as far as its intelligence. This is a very smart movie with dialogue that some people may not fully understand but will not take them out of the experience.

This is an amazingly brilliant movie that everyone needs to see, and hopefully one that will get the recognition it deserves.

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