Alex Garland’s “Ex Machina” is Captivating and Mind Blowing Masterpiece.
Alexander (Alex) Medawar Garland, a forty five year old London born screenwriter, novelist, film producer and director has a had a rather impressive career.
Regardless of his previous achievements, it was not until 2015 that he made his debut in directing with “Ex Machina”. This feature film which he created and wrote himself is a British science fiction thriller that was made on a budget of fifteen million dollars and grossed more than twenty million more.
It stars Caleb Smith (Domhnall Gleeson), a programmer for Bluebook, the world’s premier search engine who wins a visit to the company CEO’s home. His boss Nathan Bateman (played by Oscar Isaac) lives alone save for a mute housemaid named Kyoko (Sonoya Mizuno) and Ava (Alicia Vikander) a realistic robot created by Nathan using information and data stolen from millions of Bluebook’s users. Although Ava is artificial, she exhibits the personality, emotions and mannerisms of a human being. Nathan requires that Caleb should carry out the Turing test to determine Ava’s ability to bond with humans.
Caleb and Ava bond and what follows is a web of mind boggling conspiracies, unexpected betrayals and well-orchestrated lies that will see employee turning against employer and robot against human.
I believe that “Ex Machina’s” strength lies in its unusual ability to engage the viewer which is most often lacking in sci-fi movies. Its ability to have the audience sitting on the edge of their seats and the constant suspense is what makes Alex Garland’s latest movie a success.
About Alex Garland
In 1992, he graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in History of Art from the University of Manchester and became active only four years later with his first book, “The Beach” which was published in 1996. It went ahead to be adapted by Danny Boyle in 2000 and made into a movie of the same name starring Leonardo Dicaprio. Second came “The Tesseract” in 1998 which was also made into a film and starred Jonathan Rhys Meyers. “The Coma”, his third novel was published in 2004.
In 2002 and 2007, he wrote screenplays for “28 Days Later” and “Sunshine” respectively both of which were directed by Danny Boyle and starred Cillian Murphy. The former earned him the Best Screenplay Honour at the 2004 Fangoria Chainsaw Awards. His role in writing of the script for the film adaptation of “Halo” earned him an astounding one million US dollars. Then came the script for the 2010 film “Never Let Me Go” which was derived from Kazuo Ishiguro’s novel. In 2012 he also wrote and produced the screenplay for “Dredd” a film based on the “Judge Dredd” comic book. Together with Tameem Antoniades he won a 2011 award from the Writer’s Guild of Great Britain for writing the script and story for “Enslaved: Odyssey to the West” – a Playstation 3 and Xbox 360 game.
Garland also sat in as an executive producer for “28 Weeks Later” a follow up of “28 Days Later”.