15. Ex Machina
Release Year: 2014
Writer-director Alex Garland creates a brilliant thriller in Ex Machina about humanity and freedom in the form of a man being part of a Turing test to a robot in the form of a woman. Starring Domhnall Gleeson, Alicia Vikander and Oscar Isaac, the movie takes on a life of its own as Ava (Vikander) starts to grow closer to Caleb (Gleeson).
These three leads, with Isaac as Ava’s creator, combine to make three fascinating and layered performances that are hard to look away from. They are all doing something remarkable, where every look and every word has meaning and helps ground everything that’s happening. It’s an intimate science fiction film that takes its ideas to unpredictable places and wants to surprise you, Garland able to do so by creating a beautiful and thoughtful movie about what it means to be free and what it means to be human.
(Side note: Garland’s other film, Annihilation, is just as great and also on Netflix.)
But it’s in Alicia Vikander, the standout of Ex Machina, where so much power can be found. She’s wonderful in the movie, able to use only her face to emote so much of what’s happening inside of her.
Ex Machina is an impressive movie, and well worth checking out this fall on Netflix.