Ex Machina [ The­atri­cal]

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Alex Gar­land is a name you should rec­og­nize. He first came to promi­nence at the age of just 26 when his first novel, The Beach, be­come an in­ter­na­tional sen­sa­tion. It spawned a 2000 film by Danny Boyle which was a huge box of­fice draw, kick­ing off a col­lab­o­ra­tion be­tween Boyle and Gar­land which re­sulted in 28 Days Later and per­haps Boyle’s master­piece, Sun­shine.

Gar­land has also scripted the adap­ta­tion of Never Let Me Go and the vi­ciously vivid Dredd. And now he’s set to con­quer a new fron­tier with his first film as writer and direc­tor – Ex Machina. The move into the direc­tor’s chair is the log­i­cal next step for the 44 year old English­man, es­pe­cially af­ter ru­mours of his heavy in­volve­ment with the film­ing of Dredd in 2012. This is also a film which ex­pands on his par­tic­u­lar brand of in­tense sit­u­a­tions, bleed­ing edge tech and the wa­ver­ing edges of fear. Af­ter an ex­tremely ef­fi­cient open­ing we’re thrown into a world with only 3 main char­ac­ters, trapped in an iso­lated lo­ca­tion where events un­spool over the course of a week. Th­ese el­e­ments are no doubt con­ces­sions to the mod­est bud­get of around $ 20 mil­lion, but they also make for a more com­pelling pic­ture. There are no dis­trac­tions. It’s all laid bare. It has to be said that Ex Machina is very much a talky film, lay­ered with deep and dense dia­logue, cen­tred on a se­ries of en­gage­ments be­tween a wide- eyed coder played by Domh­nall Glee­son and Ava – a robot embodied by Ali­cia Vikan­der. There are thriller, mys­tery and even hor­ror el­e­ments at play but the real ac­tion oc­curs in their ex­changes. Ex Machina is a ster­ling ex­am­ple of the scifi form, and a more dis­tilled ver­sion that we’ve seen for many a year. If you’ve grown tired of over- pro­duced big- bud­get ef­forts, then this is a must see.

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