7 items from 2015
Alex Garland's taut, tense directorial debut Ex Machina is many things: it's a claustrophobic thriller, a high-concept science fiction story, a character-driven chamber play, an exploration of the possibilities of artificial intelligence and a treatise on human consciousness.
It's also breathlessly entertaining, representing a very smooth transition to directing for veteran writer-producer Garland, whose past CV highlights include Danny Boyle's Sunshine, Kazuo Ishiguro adaptation Never Let Me Go and 2012's good-against-the-odds Dredd reboot.
The film is essentially a three-hander - with another key character coming into play later on - centred on everyman programmer Caleb (Domhnall Gleeson), who is selected to take part in a groundbreaking artificial intelligence experiment. The AI in question is Ava (Alicia Vikander), created by the reclusive Nathan (Oscar Isaac) to be the world's first genuinely conscious machine.
Digital Spy sat down with Garland, Vikander and Gleeson to discuss how Ex Machina came to be, »
After giving new life to the zombie and space opera genres with the Danny Boyle-directed duo of “28 Days Later” and “Sunshine” and devastatingly adapting Kazuo Ishiguro’s “Never Let Me Go” for Mark Romanek, it seemed inevitable that screenwriter Alex Garland would eventually find his way into the director’s chair (especially after those rumors that he took over from credited helmer Pete Travis in the editing room of “Dredd,” which he also wrote). What was less inevitable is that Garland’s directorial debut “Ex Machina” would be any good: if the film fell flat, he’d be far from the first scribe to unsuccessfully attempt directing. As such, it’s extremely pleasurable to report that the picture is a triumph: it's arguably Garland’s tightest and most fascinating screenplay to date, brought to life with meticulous filmmaking and sensational performances. It's the first great film of 2015. Like his earlier work, »
- Oliver Lyttelton
Stripping his sci-fi remit back down to basics after the high-profile excesses of Dredd, Alex Garland makes his long-awaited directorial debut with the taut, intimate Ex Machina. A high-concept AI thriller told like a chamber play, Garland's script puts the focus heavily on his powerhouse young cast, their loaded interactions posing questions that are as frequently emotional as existential.
Domhnall Gleeson, who after Frank is becoming known as the everyman thrust into a brave new world, plays a meek young software engineer selected in a competition to take part in a groundbreaking robotics experiment. Transported by helicopter to a remote, sleekly futuristic compound, Caleb is enlisted by reclusive genius Nathan (Oscar Isaac) to test the limitations of a remarkable new AI crafted in the shape of a young woman, »
While multiplex fantasy remains an extravagantly caped boys’ club, a stealthy gender inquiry is taking place in more specialized sci-fi territory, with Alex Garland’s brittle, beautiful “Ex Machina” its latest slyly thoughtful line of questioning. A worthy companion piece to “Under the Skin” and “Her” in its examination of what constitutes human and feminine identity — and whether those two concepts need always overlap — Garland’s long-anticipated directorial debut synthesizes a dizzy range of the writer’s philosophical preoccupations into a sleek, spare chamber piece: Mary Shelley’s “Frankenstein” redreamed as a 21st-century battle of the sexes. Exquisitely designed and electrically performed by Alicia Vikander, Domhnall Gleeson and particularly Oscar Isaac, this uncomplicated but subtly challenging film requires strong word of mouth from its January U.K. release (and its March SXSW premiere) if audiences abroad are to tap its porcelain surface.
“I’m hot on high-level abstraction,” brags 24-year-old »
- Guy Lodge
Garland, who penned the novel on which Danny Boyle's "The Beach" was based, has built up a solid resume over the past decade - penning the scripts for "28 Days Later," "Sunshine," "Dredd," "Never Let Me Go" and the video game "Enslaved: Odyssey to the West".
During his talks with the press, the "28 Days Later" franchise came up in discussion and Garland confirmed to IGN that "quite serious conversations" are underway about "28 Months Later," a third film in the horror franchise that would follow-on from the 2002 original and its 2007 sequel:
"We've got an idea. Danny [Boyle] and [producer] Andrew [Macdonald] and I have been having quite serious conversations about it so it is a possibility. It's complicated. There's a whole bunch of reasons why it's complicated, which are boring so I won't go into, »
- Garth Franklin
Screenwriter Alex Garland has been delivering some really solid scripts this decade with the likes of Never Let Me Go and Dredd, and the man's directorial debut, Ex MacHina, looks fantastic! His recent work aside, Garland has also been a collaborator with director Danny Boyle, having written 28 Days Later and Sunshine. If you're a fan of the former, it looks like the two have been discussing a sequel recently and things are heating up. While Garland stated he would most likely »
- Sean Wist
When 2015 comes to an end, which films will we look back on as being the biggest surprises of this year? I have a feeling that Ex Machina could be one of those movies. The directorial debut of writer Alex Garland (Sunshine, 28 Days Later, Dredd, and the under-seen Never Let Me Go), the film stars Domhnall Gleeson, Oscar Isaac, and Alicia Vikander in a sci-fi tale that debates the consciousness of artificial intelligence. The first trailer put this movie on my radar, and since I'm a big fan of everyone involved, I can't wait to see this movie when it arrives in theaters on April 10th.
The Playlist points us to a batch of new images from the film, as well as two clips that do a nice job of setting the stage for the kind of moral complexities we can expect from the full feature. Think Ex Machina has the potential to be great? »
- Ben Pearson
7 items from 2015
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