While "Avengers" relies on a heavy budget to create what is supposed to be visually beautiful special effects but ultimately ends up looking cheap, "Ex Machina" has a tiny budget, yet the effects are incredibly realistic. "Avengers" gives us a villain with a completely robotic appearance, while "Ex Machina" gives us a human with a robotic body.
Is it fair to compare these two films? Perhaps not. Part of me just REALLY enjoys bashing the second "Avengers" film (I am still in disbelief of how bad it is). I think the bigger thing is that I have had enough of films with big explosions and a load of special effects without brains. I am bored of over-the-top action films that use expensive effects to "entertain" us. With "Ex Machina," we have gorgeous special effects that are so real, it's difficult to believe that much of what we see is generated by a computer.
We meet Caleb (Domhnall Gleeson), a computer programmer who works for a company called Bluebook, a search engine with popularity and credibility comparable to Google. He obtains the opportunity to spend a week at the private, secluded residence of the company's CEO, Nathan Bateman (Oscar Isaacs) to participate in some kind of top-secret experiment. It unfolds that Nathan has created a female A.I. and wants Caleb to test her human qualities.
In the role of Ava, the female A.I., Alicia Vikander is hypnotic. You cannot take your eyes off of her each moment she is onscreen, not only due to how stunningly beautiful she is, but also due to her mannerisms. The mysteriousness of her character is brought to life flawlessly. Her performance deserves awards attention. I just hope it isn't forgotten about by the end of the year.
As "Ex Machina" is most likely coming near the end of its theatrical run, I can only hope that it garners more attention when it is released on DVD/Blu-ray. It is such a unique film, unlike any science fiction film you will ever see. Terrific performances, glorious effects, an intriguing story, a twist ending that I really did not see coming, and a clever script help make this film stand apart from others.