Peter Suderman Reviews Ex Machina


Universal / A24

Like most critics, including our own Kurt Loder, I really enjoyed Ex Machina. Here's the opener to my review:

Over the past 40 years, science fiction, once the domain of geeks and nerds, has taken over the multiplex. Yet most of the films that pass for big-screen science fiction these days are just action movies pumped up with wow-inducing futuristic gizmos.

It's rare to see a sci-fi film that harkens back to the genre's origins as a literary test bed for speculation about the ways that technology might evolve — and require humans to change in the process.

But that's just what "Ex Machina" is. The directorial debut of Alex Garland, the screenwriter behind the space horror movie "Sunshine" and the revisionist zombie flick "28 Days Later," "Ex Machina" is a spare, beautiful, masterfully crafted exercise in pure science fiction storytelling.

Smart and talky, but also intensely engaging, it plays like a movie version of the sort of story you might find in venerable science fiction magazines such as "Asimov's" or "Analog" at their peak. It's one of the best science fiction films I've seen in years.

Read the whole review in today's Washington Times. 

Officially, the movie opened last week, but it only played in four theaters. After very strong performance at the box office on the screens where it did play, however, it's expanding nationally this week (although not to a full wide release, which won't happen until next week), so you might be able to see it if even if you don't live in one of the small handful of that got the initial limited release.