Movies have been warning us about the dangers of A.I. and robots for many, many years now, but the trope remains popular as ever and features heavily into the plots of upcoming 2015 blockbusters (Avengers: Age of Ultron, Terminator: Genisys) and smaller films such as Ex Machina. The latter now has an official trailer, which you can watch above.
Ex Machina is the writing/directing debut for Alex Garland, the screenwriter of well-received sci-fi genre fare ranging from Danny Boyle’s 28 Days Later and Sunshine, to the Never Let Me Go book-turned movie and, most recently, the cult hit comic book film Dredd. The future Star Wars: Episode VII costars Domhnall Gleeson and Oscar Isaac appear in Garland’s original project as, respectively, 24-year old coder Caleb and his work place’s reclusive CEO, Nathan.
In Garland’s film, Caleb (as his “prize” for winning a work competition) travels out to Nathan’s remote home, in order to participate in an experiment that requires the young man to interact with his boss’s ground-breaking creation: the world’s first truly artificially intelligent being, Ava (Alicia Vikander). However, lest you presume that a Her-style heartfelt human/A.I. romance follows, it soon becomes clear that Nathan’s intentions (and his “experiment”) aren’t so noble as he proclaims them to be.
A24 (Spring Breakers, Under the Skin) and Universal Pictures are distributing Ex Machina, and have also unveiled an international trailer for the film to go with the domestic teaser. The former, which you can watch below, is more story-oriented than its U.S. counterpart. Both clips highlight psycho-drama/thriller aspects of Garland’s movie, though, and hint at the possible twists and turns that the film’s narrative might take along the way to its conclusion.
Ex Machina, by the look and sound of it, seems as though it could make for an effective exploration of themes common to the A.I. sub-genre, through the lens of a setup that sounds almost like something befitting a horror movie (what with its single-setting located out in the middle of nowhere and owned by a possible madman with an impressive evil beard).
The Ex Machina cast is a strong collection of proven character actors (see: Gleeson in About Time, Isaac in Inside Llewyn Davis) whose careers are very much on the rise; that praise extends to Vikander (Anna Karenina), who also plays a lead in next summer’s The Man from U.N.C.L.E.. Garland’s done fine work in the sci-fi genre as a writer and has experience from working alongside some talented directors, so he’s in a good position to make a solid first impression as a helmsman himself.
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Ex Machina opens in U.S. theaters on April 10th, 2015.