Arnav’s review published on Letterboxd:
The concept of AI has never been explored more well than in Ex Machina. A visual and atmospheric sci-fi treat with one of the best screenplays I've ever seen play out on screen. Alex Garland is a master at writing and directing these types of movies and I'm convinced that this is one of the best written films I've ever seen, no joke. It's so thought out, but in the way it's executed here allows for so much thematic analysis and moments where your jaw hits the floor.
It was midnight when I started this, being scared in pitch dark with very little light seeping through my area. I decided to watch something to take my mind off the eeriness of my situation but I ultimately made it worse, but in the best way possible. Sure, maybe it was more immersive but watching the terror that exists in Ex Machina unfold like that made it so much more surreal. I will admit, the first minute of the film leading up to the plot felt really off, but before you know it the film kicks off into action. It's so atmospheric and has such a consistent vibe to it that really reminds me why I like sci-fi. Movies like this, Blade Runner 2049 and more are films in the genre that have an extensive amount of vibes which I realized a while ago that I enjoy. It makes me feel something. It makes the experience way more memorable. The visuals, oh my god, it's one of the most visually stunning films of the 2010s. The lighting is extremely well done and genuinely really beautiful. The acting is some of the best of that year. I realized how underrated the performances are because of how literally every other technical aspect overshadows it. The production design is gorgeous. The architecture here makes me feel something. The forefront idea of architecture blended with engineering in it's discrete subtextual is phenomenal. Its really well written and directed obviously. It's a technical marvel, being one of the best A24 has ever produced.
What really hit me hard though was what the movie had to say. It really intrigued me, as this type of movie would usually do so. The idea of AI has been explored so many times, but most films fail to understand that AI is simply an artificial development. It consists of no emotions and feelings. It is simply a man made product that is programmed - it is nothing more. This movie succeeds in knowing what it's dealing with and tells the audience the fact. It almost feels like it was dealing with misogyny. Garland writes the script where you understand Caleb and his character but as soon as things get clear it's really obvious what was going on all along. It's one of those movies that will give you different perspectives in every viewing, and it's not like it even has a plot twist, it's right on front of your eyes but we're just too blind to see it. It's genuinely really intriguing to me. This stuff will keep me thinking for weeks and that's why I love stuff like this. What a fantastic film, and an extremely memorable experience as well! I just cannot wait to rewatch it.
I love movies, I love art, I love everything this movie says. It's almost a perfect film, being one of my absolute favourites for sure. I highly recommend seeing it if you haven't already, it's just one of those movies you have to experience to understand what I'm talking about, and once you do, there is no going back. Such a fantastic experience. I can't believe what I saw, I'm simply just blown away.