Screenwriter Alex Garland has had a kind of Midas touch — he’s written and created a string of genre classics including three films directed by Academy Award-winner Danny Boyle (“The Beach,” Garland’s first novel, then the screenplays for “28 Days Later” and “Sunshine”) and one by Mark Romanek (“Never Let Me Go”). Safe to say that looks pretty good on a resume. But Garland’s output suffered with the 2012 adaptation of “Dredd” — a box-office flop that couldn’t gross more than $35 million worldwide.
Perhaps because of that bomb, Garland decided to take matters into his own hands with “Ex Machina,” his directorial debut that he also wrote. Set in a far future, it centers on a reclusive genius CEO, a A.I. robot and a young tech employee who wins a contest to spend private time with his isolated boss. The movie stars two upcoming actors from “Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” Oscar Isaac and Domhnall Gleeson, alongside rising actress Alicia Vikander.
Alex Garland, writer of 28 Days Later and Sunshine, makes his directorial debut with the stylish and cerebral thriller, EX MACHINA. Caleb Smith (Domhnall Gleeson), a programmer at an internet-search giant, wins a competition to spend a week at the private mountain estate of the company’s brilliant and reclusive CEO, Nathan Bateman (Oscar Isaac).
Upon his arrival, Caleb learns that Nathan has chosen him to be the human component in a Turing Test—charging him with evaluating the capabilities, and ultimately the consciousness, of Nathan’s latest experiment in artificial intelligence. That experiment is Ava (Alicia Vikander), a breathtaking A.I. whose emotional intelligence proves more sophisticated––and more deceptive––than the two men could have imagined.
Moreover, we know Garland’s recovered and seemingly launched the beginning of a successful directing career: in our A-grade review of “Ex Machina” from the U.K., we called the movie “brilliant and gripping.”
“Ex Machina” will have its North American Premiere out of the SXSW Festival on March 14th; A24 will release the film in theaters following its debut on April 10th. Check out the trailer below along with a new clip and featurette.