Sunday, 25 January 2015

REVIEW - EX MACHINA (ALEX GARLAND)


The history of gods, the future of intelligent life - Alex Garland presents his outlook on the tipping point between the world as we've always known it and the world it may evolve into. It's a typically portentous, promising, shallow outlook, but the suggestions that Garland sprinkles through Ex Machina, suggestions that he's onto something more substantial than his usual schtick, buoy this engaging film. His science is suspect, so he leaves it well alone, and that's wise. His psychology is of fluctuating levels of quality - there's one gratifyingly frank discussion about sexuality, but Garland shows peculiarly little interest in examining the psychological differences between entities in Ex Machina, when surely that is this film's raison d'etre. His technical aptitude is fine, and that's what's most impressive about Ex Machina. It validates the structure he's so fond of (a slow burn, escalating tension, concluding in a violent shitstorm) and actually justifies the film's character as a more physically, stylistically literate work than a philosophically literate one. Those queries still linger, though, with a number of questionable details in the basic scenario, and too much left unexplored in the ramifications of what's implied herein. Ex Machina could, thus, have certainly done with taking itself less seriously; the sole moment when it lets down its guard for a gleefully odd choreographed dance sequence is already a strong contender for the best movie scene of 2015.