Both Gleeson and Isaac are on board Star Wars: Episode VII, so by the end of 2015, their science fiction clout will be through the roof. Even though Gleeson is known for his role in the Harry Potter franchise, I barely recognized him here in Ex Machina.
Director Garland is known for his work writing modern classic science fiction films 28 Days Later and Sunshine. Both of which were incredibly gripping tales, even though I thought the ending for the latter film was a bit anticlimactic, turning into a slasher film. This film is a perfect match for him, and it looks like his first go in the director’s chair will be an incredibly confident one.
What I got from the trailer is that nothing can be trusted. Is the CEO a psychopath? Is the AI a liar? Is Gleeson’s character even human? And hat’s what I want from a trailer, I want to have more questions about a movie than answers.
There also seems to be a trend in theaters these days about AIs. Ex Machina seems like a far more intricate tale than this years Transcendence. While not a thriller, I thought Spike Jonze’s Her to be one of the finest films exploring artificial intelligence and humanity’s relationship with it.
I hope that Ex Machina is closer to the latter than it is to the former. For anyone following the debate about AIs, you know that the question is more complicated than just “machine bad, human good”. This film looks like it understands that in spades.
Here’s the official synopsis:
Caleb Smith (Gleeson), a programmer at an internet-search giant, wins a competition to spend a week at the private mountain estate of the company’s brilliant and reclusive CEO, Nathan Bateman (Isaac). Upon his arrival, Caleb learns that Nathan has chosen him to be the human component in a Turing Test – charging him with evaluating the capabilities, and ultimately the consciousness, of Nathan’s latest experiment in artificial intelligence. That experiment is Ava (Vikander), a breathtaking A.I. whose emotional intelligence proves more sophisticated–and more deceptive–than the two men could have imagined.