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TV show review: CONTINUUM season 4
PHOTOGRAPHY

EX MACHINA

Blu-ray review by David Blackwell

 

DETAILS: 108 minutes, making-of documentary, featurettes, SXSW Q&A, digital copy

VIDEO: 2.40:1 (Anamorphic Widescreen) 1080p High Definition

AUDIO: English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio, English 5.1 DTS Digital Surround, English DTS Headphone

Subtitles: English, English SDH, Spanish

 

STUDIO: A24 Pictures/ Universal Pictures International/ Film4/ DNA Films/ Lionsgate

RELEASE DATE: 7-14-2015

Caleb (Domhnall Gleeson) has been won a contest where he gets to spend a week with the reclusive disco dancing megalomaniac owner of Blue Book (a big search engine company), Nathan (Oscar Isaac).  Soon Caleb finds out the real reason he was sent is to apply the Turing test to prove whether Ava (Alicia Vikander) is an artificial intelligence indistinguishable from a human being.   Not all is as it seems as Ava tells him that Nathan lies and she wants to escape.  Caleb is cut off from the outside world and must decide what to do and who is telling the truth.   Does Ava want him or is it all part of some game of her making (or Caleb’s making)?

 

EX MACHINA is the brainchild of writer Alex Garland who makes his feature film directorial debut.  It is an intelligent sci-fi thriller which explores big human questions about what if an android was made and what would happen if someone did make such a thing.   Would we like the results of it and would we be able to control the development of an artificial intelligence?   These questions are wrapped up within a character driven thriller (with a few good twists) making this the best sci-fi film that Alex Garland has written (even better than 28 DAYS LATER, the flawed SUNSHINE, or even the underrated and underwatched DREDD).  It is an intimate thriller which could easily be done as a stage play between four to five actors. Oscar Isaac and Alicia Vikander dominate the movie as they overshadow Domhnall Gleeson.  The music score perfectly compliments what is going on in the story.  EX MACHINA is an instant sci-fi classic that sci-fi fans should check out if they want something other than action sci-fi junk food and prefer something more thought provoking.

 

SPECIAL FETAURES:

THROUGH THE LOOKING GLASS: CREATING EX MACHINA- a forty minute making-of documentary in five parts which features interviews with cast and crew mixed with behind-the-scenes footage and film clips

 

8 Behind-the-Scenes vignettes repeat lot of the same material seen in the making-of documentary:

MAKING AVA, NATHAN’S WORLD, NEW CONSCIOUSNESS (about the Turing Test and what might happen if an artificial intelligence passed it), BECOMING AVA, DIRECTOR ALEX GARLAND (all about his vision and willing to give the crew freedom to interpret his vision), CAST, MEET AVA, GOD COMPLEX (Alex Garland compares Nathan to Kurtz in Apocalypse Now), MUSIC OF AN A.I. (how music played a role in shaping the tension of the story with it degrading later in the movie)

 

SXSW Q&A with cast and crew (sixty minutes) as writer/ director Alex Garland, the film’s composer, the director of photography, and actor Oscar Isaac talk about the movie and artificial intelligence.   Alex Garland says Nathan has a human complex and not a God complex when he created Ava.  Plus the theatrical trailer is shown during the SXSW Q&A.

 

A code to download and stream a digital ultraviolet copy of the film

 

FINAL ANALYSIS: EX MACHINA is an intelligent sci-fi thriller that is an instant sci-fi classic and the making-of extras will interest those who are interested in exploring the themes of the movie and how it was made.

 

This review is 7-16-2015 David Blackwell and cannot be reprinted without permission.  Send all comments to feedback@enterline-media.com

 

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