"Ex Machina" is an unsuspectingly bold achievement of the science-fiction realm, minimalistic in setting yet massive in creative ambition. The sensational directorial debut of screenwriter Alex Garland (2010's "Never Let Me Go"), the film works on too many levels to count: as a thinking-person's fable; an imagination-rich cautionary tale; a contemporary "Frankenstein" for adult audiences; an intensely compelling four-character chamber piece, and, most surprising of all, an unnerving thriller with an arthouse spirit and the potential accessibility of a stimulating mainstream entertainment. Assured and immersive, the story's evolving mysteries and suggestive (but still tastily open-ended) revelations weave a hypnotic spell difficult from which to break freeŚnot that anyone would want to.
When 26-year-old computer programmer Caleb Smith (Domhnall Gleeson) wins a company-wide competition to spend a week at the high-tech home of its reclusive CEO, Nathan Bateman (Oscar Isaac), it is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity he wouldn't dream of passing up. The circuitous living-quarters-cum-research-facility, located among a secluded stretch of mountains he is transported to by helicopter, is heavily protected, each room requiring a security badge and the proper clearances to enter. Nathan is a brilliant, hard-drinking, decidedly eccentric man who requires that Caleb sign a non-disclosure agreement before he reveals to him the top-secret project on which he has been working. Reluctant to give up access to his property and electronic devices, he is nevertheless curious enough that he cannot help but acquiesce.
See Dustin Putman, TheFilmFile.com. for full review