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Ex Machina


Stars: Oscar Isaac, Domnhall Gleeson, Alicia Vikander, Sonoya Mizuno

Director: Alex Garland

Despite a string of striking images, this is a stale and static sci-fi drama, in which computer geek Caleb (Gleeson) finds himself the winner of a lottery to be companion and helper for a week to mad scientist Nathan (Isaac), who has constructed a female robot (cyborg, or what you will), who possesses artificial intelligence, as well as the face and (most of) the body of Alicia Vikander, seen recently as the heroine of Testament of Youth.

Caleb's task is to quiz Ava, the android (or whatever) - liquidly played by Vikander - to see if she is aware of the qualities with which Nathan has endowed her. Ava, however, may have her own agenda, and, as is customary in this kind of enterprise, things are destined to end in violence, with Caleb a hapless piggy in the middle.

'Nathan,' she tells Caleb, during a power cut engineered by herself, 'is not your friend. You shouldn't trust anything he says'. Hmm.

Director Garland moves from The Beach to The Bitch in this much-too-long drama, full of scientific mumbo-jumbo, in which we hang around forever in Nathan's sterile headquarters waiting for something to happen. Performances from the guys, as well as their dialogue, are average at best.

David Quinlan

USA 2014. UK Distributor: Universal. Colour by Cinelab.
108 minutes. Widescreen. UK certificate: 15.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 2, Violence/Horror 1, Drugs 0, Swearing 2.

Review date: 19 Jan 2015