starring Domhnall Gleeson, Alicia Vikander, Oscar Isaac
written and directed by Alex Garland
by Angelo Muredda Say this much for Alex Garland: there's an early stretch in Ex Machina, his auspicious directorial debut, where one wonders if one is seeing something relatively new. That's meant not as a backhanded compliment but as an acknowledgement that good sci-fi is hard to come by, and that impressive world-building rarely segues into sophisticated storytelling grounded in novel ideas. For probably long enough to give it a decent shelf-life, Ex Machina passes the genre sniff test about as well as its android heroine--an artificially intelligent being with the body of a European rising star--clears her own trial, a personal variation on the Turing test. If the film dips from there into a familiar, smart-alecky noir about bad men and the women they can't control, at least credit it for deferring the inevitable.