Ex Machina [ Theatrical]
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.