Sometimes pages like this feel like cheating, both for Will and for myself…but it’s a device that works. That said, I know that Will really appreciates it when I write them…the easier a page is to draw, the more work he can get done in a week. I sort of tickled myself with this page, although I’m prone to laughing at my own jokes.
So, I was thinking about gushing about The Flash finale in more detail in this space, but I went to the movies tonight, and I have something else to gush about. Actually, Will went to the movies too. He saw Mad Max: Fury Road and he loved it. I fully intend to see Mad Max; I’m as big a fan of mind-blistering action as anybody. But I LOVE thought-provoking science fiction, and the movie that promised to give that to me might not be in theaters for much longer.
I went to see Ex Machina, and hoo-boy, was it good.
#Squirrel went to see it with me, and she was on the edge of her seat for the entire film. The uncomfortable tension in this movie begins within its first five minutes, and it never really lets up after that. About 20 minutes in, I started having to pee…but I was having none of that. This film felt so intricate, and every scene felt so integral to what was going on, I couldn’t imagine missing even a second of it. There was not one wasted minute in this film, as far as I was concerned. It’s not often that I watch a movie and think, “I absolutely am not good enough to have written this.” I rarely watch a movie and feel jealous, but that was exactly what happened to me while I was watching this movie.
I would be incredibly remiss if I didn’t mention the stellar cast: Domnhall Gleeson, Oscar Isaac, and Alicia Vikander. I presented them in that order very deliberately, that’s the order in which they first appeared on camera, and I do it that way because I can’t single any of them out. They were all tremendous. I was already a fan of Gleeson’s…he was completely unremarkable to me in the Harry Potter films, but he had this irresistible charisma in the already charismatic film About Time, so I’d been looking for another film in which to see him. Oscar Isaac is, to me, the Man Who Will Fly X-Wings, and this was basically a tryout for him…I’ve never seen him in anything before. I’d never even heard of Alicia Vikander before this. I only noticed the “acting” at the very beginning, because I’d only ever heard Gleeson speaking with a British accent until this film, and hearing him as an American annoyed me for about 30 seconds or so.
Gleeson is perfect as the sweet guy who is probably held back by his own insecurities, Isaac is the perfect arrogant genius who just might be a sociopath, and Alicia Vikander projects this beautiful need that somehow speaks both to immense power and startling fragility.
I almost want to say ABSOLUTELY NOTHING about the plot, because this is not a movie that should be in any way spoiled. I can say this much, because this is all in the film’s promotion, all of the conflicting thoughts that you may have about the idea of artificial intelligence will have a chance to come out and play after you watch this film.
Ex Machina is not for the Attention Deficit Disorder set. It’s not super long, but it takes its time. It’s a great example of the “slow burn.” But burn it does. It gets my highest recommendation. It edges It Follows to be my favorite film of the year thus far.