Adrian’s review published on Letterboxd:
Ex Machina is the perfect example why Science Fiction is my favourite genre when it comes to movies. It's simply mind-blowing. You get an engaging story, an interesting idea of a futuristic world, a glorious set design and some impressive visual effects. Mixed up with a thrilling story and some interesting characters, the end result is even more stunning, and that is the case here.
It's simply unbelievable that this was Alex Garland's directorial debut. I really loved a lot of his former works, like Sunshine or 28 Days Later. However, with this movie, he's brought himself up to another level. It's not only the idea of this movie, it's first and foremost his execution that made this movie work so well. If it's the flawless dialogues, the perfect selection of the set, a perfect pacing, the terrific camerawork or the visuals. Everything is totally coherent, and a brilliant gloomy and claustrophobic atmosphere is created. Especially to be emphasised is the third act in which the whole story gets pushed again through some interesting twists and turns. I don't want to go into detail, but Mr. Garland definitely knows how to do a third act.
I still can't get over how beautiful this movie looks. Every visual effect, every single camera position, the whole setting - It's sheer perfection. You can definitely see where Alex Garland has oriented himself. The comparison to masters of their genre like Stanley Kubrick and Terrence Malick is obvious, and that is definitely a good thing.
Ex Machina also offers a lot of brilliant performances. I'm a big fan of Oscar Isaac, and so it's no surprise that I really liked his performance in here, but it's by far not the only one. Domhnall Gleeson gave his very best performance in the year 2015, but he's still surpassed by the genius of Alicia Vikander. Damn, she was absolutely stunning. Actually, that should have been her well-deserved Oscar, to be honest. I also really loved the chemistry between her and Gleeson, their interaction were extremely emotional and always palpable.
I love it, when a movie asks some interesting questions and gives food for thoughts. Ex Machina asks a lot of questions: Where is the difference between truth and lies? What is right and what is wrong? What exactly is the nature of a human being? What is the nature of things like emotions or sexuality? I think, those are some interesting questions, and I think they will hunt me tonight.
Ex Machina is one the greatest Science Fiction movies I have ever seen. As I have already said, all the ingredients a brilliant movie of this genre needs are given here. I'm already quite excited about rewatching this movie, because I think, there are still a lot of things to experience in this gem. Saying this only an hour after watching it must be a good thing, I guess.