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There is something erotically compelling, hypnotic, resonating from this exquisitely -filmed tale about Artificial Intelligence; in this age where “Siri” computers, cars, a myriad of machines communicate regularly, is it unreasonable to believe that a robotic marvel could be created to respond appropriately and intelligently to human instincts, impulses, complexities, questions? “Ex Machina” wonderfully explores the gray, amorphous area between natural and manufactured existence.

“Caleb Smith” (perfectly cast, Domhnall Glesson) wins an office prize, a week with the reclusive, billionaire founder of an Internet search company “Nathan Bateman” (Oscar Isaac is sensationally sinister, brilliant in the role); the estate is massive, isolated and immediately you sense smart, but naive Caleb is out of his depth. Nathan has chosen him as the human foil in “The Turing Test” (based on Alan Turing’s quest to determine a machine’s ability to exhibit intelligent behavior indistinguishable from man’s).

Caleb is introduced and instantly infatuated with “Ava” (stunning, magnificent Alicia Vikander)  Nathan’s latest A.I. prototype; their repartee is classically intriguing (director/writer Alex Garland’s script keeps plausibility pumping); Caleb and Ava form an alliance; Nathan’s “Svengalian” temperament accelerates;  scenes, reminiscent of the iconic “Sleuth” evolve; massive manipulation develops, at times incredulous but always titillating; gifted acting rescuing problematic premises.

In Greek/Roman drama a god (deus) from the machine (ex machina) is introduced to solve the anomalies; in “Ex Machina” god is replaced by a megalomaniac, a genius, whose prowess surpasses even his Olympian expectations, leaving a disturbing, disconcerting, unnerving dilemma; unanswered equations for the future.

THREE & 1/2 STARS!!!


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