Stuff Singapore - - REVIEWS - Tom Wig­gins


lex Gar­land’s di­rec­to­rial de­but is a bril­liantly re­alised slice of sci-fi about what makes us hu­man. Os­car Isaac plays Nathan, the bil­lion­aire CEO of a tech com­pany who wrote the code for his Blue­book search en­gine as a child.

When one of his em­ploy­ees, su­per-nerd Caleb, wins a week at his boss’s high-se­cu­rity bunker home deep in the moun­tains, Nathan uses it as an op­por­tu­nity to test his new in­ven­tion: Eva, the phys­i­cal in­car­na­tion of his lat­est AI soft­ware. Can she pass the Tur­ing Test even when the ex­am­iner knows she’s a robot?

While Caleb is some­thing of an off-the-shelf geek, Nathan is a cross be­tween Mark Zucker­berg and a Bond vil­lain. One minute he’s

Asweat­ing out a han­gover and danc­ing with his live-in maid like a #LAD Steve Jobs, the next he’s in­tim­i­dat­ing Caleb from his con­crete-walled lair.

The in­ter­ac­tions be­tween Eva and Caleb could eas­ily have be­come te­dious in­ter­views but Gar­land in­fuses them with flir­ta­tious hu­man­ity. Much like Joaquin Phoenix’s char­ac­ter in Her, Caleb finds a lot to like in his ar­ti­fi­cial com­pan­ion, with some in­cred­i­ble make-up and spe­cial ef­fects mak­ing her equally ap­peal­ing and be­liev­able to the au­di­ence. And that’s what makes the de­noue­ment of Ex Machina all the more shock­ing.

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