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'Ex Machina' explores our complicated relationship with technology

'Machina' stars actors Domhnall Gleeson and Oscar Isaac, both of whom will appear in the upcoming movie 'Star Wars: The Force Awakens,' as well as actress Alicia Vikander.

Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP
'Ex Machina' stars Oscar Isaac.

Technology is an important part of just about everyone’s lives, and director Alex Garland explores our relationship with it in the new movie “Ex Machina,” which hits theaters on April 10. 

The movie stars Domhnall Gleeson of “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” as a programmer working for the company BlueBook, a business that dominates society. Gleeson’s character, Caleb, goes to the home of the BlueBook CEO (Oscar Isaac, also of “Force”) to see a new project that the CEO has been working on. Actress Alicia Vikander of “Anna Karenina” portrays that special project. 

Garland has previously worked on such projects as the 2012 remake “Dredd,” the 2010 movie “Never Let Me Go,” and the 2002 film “28 Days Later,” all of which he wrote the screenplay for. “Ex Machina” was also written by Garland.

In an interview with the website The Verge, Garland said of the movie, “I think we’re not entirely sure what our relationship with technology is, and we’re not comfortable with it… I suppose [the movie] is like ‘Frankenstein’ inasmuch as [the story itself] has sympathy with the monster…  My allegiances are… with the machine, not with the humans in the story.”

“Ex” has received some mixed reviews, with Kaleem Aftab of Indiewire calling the movie “excellent… the surprises are delivered as cleverly conceived pay-offs. Still, not everything flows so effortlessly… that being said, this is a worthy addition to the wealth of sci-fi classics” and Variety critic Guy Lodge writing that the movie is “beautiful… exquisitely designed and electrically performed… uncomplicated but subtly challenging.” However, Guardian writer Peter Bradshaw gave the movie three out of five stars, writing that the movie “feels like an elegant SF short story with a droll twist that has been pumped up... into an over-bulky feature film. But it’s managed with confidence” and Hollywood Reporter writer Stephen Dalton calling it “flimsy and underpowered.”

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