From the first time I saw the trailer for this film I was intrigued and wanted to watch it, which is something I seldom want to do for modern sci-fi movies. Unfortunately, I didn’t find myself the time to view it in cinema, so only recently got around to it – almost a year after its début.
While I wouldn’t call it a bad movie, I definitely wouldn’t find myself willing to re-watch it; this is mostly because it’s one of those films that you can only really watch once – where once you know the ending there’s no point in seeing it again. My other reason for not being interested in re-watching this is that, while it was interesting enough for me to give my full attention to, none of the scenes really grabbed me enough to want to buy this feature or see it again. For example, Oldboy (2003) builds up towards a large ending throughout the whole film – the type that can’t warrant the same reaction after its first viewing; however, each of the scenes in the first hour and a half are not only gripping with its story telling, but also in it’s visuals and acting. The directing is sublime and allows the lighting and mise en scene to work to its advantage alongside the story line, not sacrificing story for look or vice versa in any way; while I wouldn’t go as far as to say Ex Machina sacrifices its plot for the visuals, the cinematography was definitely the best things about this feature.
The acting was mostly okay throughout, having such a small cast of actors allows more freedom of direction, so you would hope for each of the actors to easily nail their parts. Caleb (Domhnall Gleeson), the lead who’s being tested as to whether Ava (Alicia Vikander) can function well enough to blend into society as a human, felt rather awkward throughout the film, some parts seeming as though he was on the verge of forgetting his lines and only just remembering them in time. As far as acting goes, he was the biggest let down as everyone else seemed to have nailed their roles.
As I mentioned earlier, the cinematography was the best part of this film, as the layout of the building and usage of colour helps to make the audience feel the isolation of their extremely secured, remote whereabouts. The other thing I liked about it was the subtext about how monitored our world is, with big search engines and mobile companies (such as Google and Apple) are constantly tracking the things the public are doing and searching for. This subject isn’t mentioned much in media, to the point where the only other film I can think of that covered this was The Simpsons Movie (2007).
There’s not much else I can think of that’s worth speaking about with this feature. I found a few parts of it predictable, but it did hold my attention from start to finish and does help to raise the bar on visual affects through CGI. Below is a link to the best scene in the whole film – which is a completely different tone to the rest of the feature. If you’re not interested in watching the film, you should at least watch the clip.
I’d say it’s worth checking out, but not something I’d say is a “must-see”.