Ex Machina is a simple idea with a deep meaning, basically it asks "what make us human". The story is basic, a billionaire lives in the middle of no where so that he can secretly create an Artificial Intelligence (AI) android that will pass as human and he brings one of his employees to his private estate for a week to perform the Turing Test on the android he has created. It is a little slow, but it's also thought provoking throughout so you won't get bored, watching the progression and asking questions as they come up really holds your attention and makes this a great and entertaining film.
While the story is simple, the subtext is deep. This was just a well written script, it takes everyday fears (Google, crazy rich people, android that look and act human) and brings it all together to play on those fears while still making the viewer think. Some may find the film far to "wordy" but that's part of what makes it so good, the "wordy" part is what makes you think and plays on your fears. This is an Alfred Hitchcock level film is you ask me, it plays on real emotions, and slowly builds suspense, absolutely perfect.
While there isn't a lot of music to speak of, the little that is used really sets the mood of the film. Mostly it's classical music played while Nathan (the billionaire) is working out while overlooking the gorgeous scenery. Other than that the only other music you hear is during the credits and that is more modern music.
Domhnall Gleeson was great, he starts off this shy programmer and throughout the film he slowly changes into a more bold and angry man, by the time you get near the end you almost feel what he feels. Oscar Isaac plays the crazy billionaire but at the same time seems somewhat normal, he can really make you feel like he's trying to do the right thing while delivering lines that tells you otherwise. Alicia Vikander is Ava the Android, an my god did she pull of this part well, even just minor head movements give her a robotic feel and yet still she can give off the feeling that she's human at the same time. Her part had to be the most difficult to play while also being the most important to actually get right, and I feel she nailed it. Sonoya Mizuno is the maid and cook with no lines and while that may seem to be an easy part it's not, he can't express what her character is feeling with words so it all has to be expressed with her face and and her actions. This had to be incredibly difficult yet she pulls it off and makes the viewer feel for her and question everything about her at the some time. This is the first time I've seen most of the actors perform (except Oscar Isaac) and I have to say I was blown away by their performances, overall it was an outstanding cast.
I know I don't normally say anything about the settings of films I review but I have to say something about this one. Part of the film was shot in Valldalen, Norway and my god is that a beautiful place, if I was a crazy billionaire I think I move there too! The other half of the film was shot in a studio and the sets they used really make you feel like they are in prison while still free, even the interview room was set up to give you the feeling that while Ava has more freedom she is also trapped, I don't think I could have does a better job myself.
Ex Machina is a great film, it will play on your emotions and make you think, but in the end it's just a good film to watch. It is rated R due to violence and nudity, but it's not that bad, just don't let the little ones watch this one, though I doubt they would want to since it's more of a "grown up" film anyway. If you enjoy thought provoking films or Alfred Hitchcock film you will certainly enjoy Ex Machina.