Well that happened fast. After not hearing much about Alex Garland’s directorial debut, Ex Machina, for a good long while, yesterday we got a poster, news that A24 will distribute the film, a release date, and another poster. And bright and early this morning, what do we have but a shiny new first trailer, and if you thought we were intrigued and excited by this before, wait until you check this out for yourself.
Garland made a name for himself writing action heavy movies like Dredd and teaming up with Danny Boyle for 28 Days Later, The Beach, and Sunshine, but as you can see here, he also has a keen visual eye of his very own. This trailer is full of gorgeous natural panoramas, juxtaposed against sterile laboratory environments, and even those claustrophobic, blood red hallways that call to mind HAL 9000 and 2001.
From this, and what we know about the story, this is a rather minimalistic endeavor, and the plot, or at least the bulk of it, is comprised of three actors and one isolated location. Caleb Smith (Domhnall Gleeson) works for a massive, Google-like search engine company. When he wins the chance to spend time with the company’s brilliant, reclusive CEO, Nathan Bateman (Oscar Isaac)—who wants to spend more time with their boss?—it turns out he’s intended to be the human component in a Turing Test. The subject is Ava (Alicia Vikander), a new leap in artificial intelligence, and it is Caleb’s job to judge the extent of her intelligence and capacity to be, for lack of a better word, human.
As you probably guessed, things get a little more complicated than that. There’s more to Bateman’s scheme than he lets on, Ava could be the creation that erases the line between man and machine, between man and god. Is Ava actually sentient, acting on her own, or is she following some preexisting program, a set of protocols. You have big themes of technology run amok, what it means to be human, sexuality, desire, and many more. There’s definitely a lot going on here.
According to A24’s press release yesterday, Ex Machina hits theaters on April 10, 2015, but we wouldn’t be surprised if it turns up at one of the early-in-the-year film festivals, like Sundance or South By Southwest, which is no stranger to genre fare like this. We’ll have to wait and see, and in reality, a festival run doesn’t really mean much to most of us, and we’ll have to wait until it opens proper. Still, this one is looking more and more like it’ll be worth the wait.