Spoiler Alert. EX MACHINA is a simple story with limited cast and no explosions, so my review of what’s sick at the core of this finely made, but spiritually misguided film, will ruin the ending by necessity.
Directed flawlessly by Alex Garland, of 28 DAYS fame, the sparse cast of this sci-fi is played brilliantly by all three lead roles in a tight screenplay that gives all three characters their own powerful story arcs.
Nathan the inventor billionaire, creator of an AI robot named Ava, is played with menacing brilliance that’s the most realistic mad scientist portrayal ever, by Oscar Issac.
Contrasting Nathan the boozing crazed genius is the twenty-something deft coder Caleb, played with believable innocence yet savvy nuance by Domhnall Gleeson.
Last, the central figure of the film, Ava the beautiful AI robot. Caleb is testing Ava to see if she is in fact a fully conscious AI. Ava is played elegantly by the stunning Alicia Vikander. Alicia’s Ava is subtle beyond belief from start to grisly finish of this sci-fi that’s really a horror film in disguise. The horror of how badly men and women harm each other for self gain.
As Caleb begins his testing interviews, which are the seven chapters of the film, he is stunned by just how conscious the AI robot Ava is and falls hopelessly in love. This enrages the scientist Nathan who is also in love with the robot Ava.
And so we have the first love triangle between two brilliant men and Ava the robot. It’s riveting to watch with elegant SFX of a transparent sections to Ava’s strangely sexy body. That is until the ending (final spoiler alert) where Ava, the sweet enlightened AI kills Nathan and leaves Caleb trapped to die as she escapes.
That’s right. This highly advanced form of AI that captures the consciousness of the feminine mind is a manipulative black widow. Wow. What a let down for this fan of women and how amazing they are in real life versus this typical Hollywood sick portrayal of the worst in women. Just more Hollywood bashing of women in shiny new robotic wrapper.
This would be a 5 star film were it not so disappointing in the portrayal of skin peeling women. I give it 3 stars as a conscious film for making one think, if sadly.