Ex Machina

Ex Machina ★★★★½

This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.

This review may contain spoilers.

Whenever I rewatch this, I probably spend waaaay too much time focusing on my thought process in the first time seeing. Alex Garland is playing a little game where he's trying to trick you into thinking that Caleb is Ava's successor. I actually think he's so heavy-handed with his misdirection that it's a bit of a misstep. What's fun is how that fits into the larger narrative where that's a bait and switch that parallels Ava's own deception. That character and performance are something else. Vikander's dough-eyed manipulation of Gleeson is so perfectly executed, as is the bewitching CG work that brings to life Ava's transparent fresh. How this was all accomplished on a 15 million budget, I'll never know. It's all a smart, incredibly well acted chamber piece for Garland, and will hopefully be a calling card for his style for the next ten years.

Other notes:
I've heard (not amongst the sharp intellects of Letteroxd, of course) that Oscar Isaac's dance scene is distracting and out of character. To that I say 1) it's some desperately needed comic reliefthat breaks the almost unbearable tension of this single location thriller and 2) silicon valley rich people are weirdos. Just look at man or the talents developed by this similar genius.

The score is great. Check out the composer's tribute album to Dredd, Drokk, for some excellent concentration music as well as the best song titles ever committed a vinyl pressing (I'm a big fan of "helmet theme.")

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