Tag Archives: alicia vikander

Jason Bourne

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“Don’t make this personal.”

Years and years of hoping and wanting and praying have finally paid off. Matt Damon got his wish with the return of director Paul Greengrass and we can finally sit in a cinema again and soak in a brand new Jason Bourne adventure… Err… Jason Bourne.

Years after Bourne vanished without a trace after taking a header into the East River, the ex-super spy’s long-time handler/companion Nicky Parsons (Julia Styles) brings him back into the fray after hacking her way into a ton of CIA black ops files. Of course, they include historical information on Operation Treadstone, Black Briar, Bourne and a previously unknown connection to Bourne’s agency analyst father.

Sticking her nose in, Nicky garners the attention of the men and women in suits in Langley as the CIA goes all hands on deck to find her. Super-cyber-spy Heather Lee (Alicia Vikander) is on her very quickly and under the command of CIA director Robert Dewey (a grizzled Tommy Lee Jones) tracks the former analyst to Greece where Jason Bourne is hiding out. So now, everyone that was off the grid for so long is back on the radar and running for their lives again. Globetrotting hijinks ensue as Bourne chases answers to questions he didn’t know he had until Nicky’s return; chased relentlessly by the CIA and their deadly “asset” (Vincent Cassel) it’s a race against the odds to stay alive and to unearth the secrets that are keeping Bourne on the run.

Bourne is an institution for me. It appeared just as I was starting to get a little fatigued with Bond as a series and needed something a little different. Between this and the Mission: Impossible franchise, I’ve never really looked at United Artists’ 007 series the same. When Doug Liman (remember him? This wasn’t always about Greengrass. Although arguably Greengrass refined the series into near-perfection) first brought us The Bourne Identity, it was a breath of fresh air. As super human as Jason Bourne seemed to be, it always felt like an against-the-odds uphill battle for him and it never felt like a foregone conclusion that he’d be successful.

All these years later, and we are back for more. And it’s as good as any film in the franchise. Yes, including Legacy.

For the most part, I don’t have much negative to say about the latest in the espionage series. Guessing from the “Based on characters created by Robert Ludlum” and not the usual “based on the book by…”, I reckon this is the first of the Matt Damon Bourne flicks that’s been written specifically for the screen, instead of having one of the many books adapted for film. That lack of guidance from a book does show a little though. Mostly early on in the film when Nicky Parsons all but coerces Bourne back into action with secret stuff we never knew about. I can – and do – suspend my disbelief while I watch these films; you’d have to, right? But the opening 15-20 minutes, those moments that are meant to convince him and us that it’s time to suit up again, feel tenuous and stretched at best – and at worst, they just feel clumsy.

And don’t even get me started on the insanity of showing me a USB stick – which has been hidden in a locker that only Jason can find, that also comes with a gun and a notepad filled with details on the investigation into Treadstone/Blackbriar and beyond – that has a massive printed label on it that says ENCRYPTED. Thanks for THAT Mr. Greengrass, because I never would have gotten to that conclusion on my own!

Those are very minor niggles in an otherwise excellent film. Once Bourne is back in the limelight, it’s like getting into a pair of comfy slippers. The story twists and turns and flips around at an insane pace. You just have to sit back and trust that Greengrass and Damon will do you right and explain everything, or almost everything. The break-neck pace is what makes Bourne as a franchise something special; even a simple scene like tailing a guy through a crowd is wrought with tension and an atmosphere that’ll have you chewing your fingernails the whole way through.

As it always is, the action is beautifully shot. Greengrass has taken on board criticism from his Green Zone days and stays away from shake-o-vision style shots. Car chases are fast and exciting; and the close-up combat tense and bone-crunchingly brutal. Greengrass’ ability to turn up the tension on every scene, whether it is a shootout, a chase, or a quiet exposition scene that explains the ripped-from-the-headlines story (more on that in a sec), shows just how much skill and experience the now veteran Brit director is bringing to the table.

Coming away from the narrative of the books, whilst usually a bad idea, has allowed Paul Greengrass and long-time Bourne producer Christopher Rouse to put together a story that is both current and relevant. Invoking everything from Edward Snowden and his close to government destroying activities; to the more recent animosity between US law enforcement agencies and tech giant Apple. The pair have written a story that hits close to the quick on a few occasions and they make their feelings on the situations very, very clear. As our hero finds himself embroiled in a conspiracy that not only has the old school spy ways of the past brought into question, but manages to show just how far we’ve come when it comes to technology and surveillance with the CIA’s biggest and best weapon being Alicia Vikander’s tech genius, backed up by boots on the ground. Not, as it has been for so long, the other way around.

It’s a real showcase for its stars too, taking nothing away from its main star: Matt Damon is Jason Bourne. That’s it, really. He’s a bad ass super-spy that kicks ass across seven continents and looks damn good doing it. And whilst he’s obviously the focal point of the film, knowing what you’re getting from him means you can sit and watch some awesome little performances come out of the background.

Alicia Vikander, an actress that’s fast becoming a real favourite of mine, gets to play a slightly understated role to start with. Her tech-savvy surveillance operative is convincing and fun to watch when we first meet her. But once she pushes her way onto into the chase for Bourne and Parsons, we see just how ruthless she is. Vikander does a great job in keeping us wondering just which shade of that grey area between good guy and bad she’s going to fall in to. Similarly for Tommy Lee Jones’ CIA Director Dewy, falling into the grizzled veteran bad-guy role that Brian Cox filled so well earlier in the series, we get to see the Oscar winner from a different direction than usual as he dons his bad-guy cap and looks to have a lot of fun playing the game for his own selfish reasons.

The stand-out though, outside of Bourne of course, is Vincent Cassel’s nameless “Asset”. In previous entries to the series, we’ve had a fellow program participant chasing Jason Bourne with varying degrees of success and screen time. A role that’s been filled with names like Clive Owen, Karl Urban and Edgar Ramirez, without ever really being fleshed out, actually gets the full treatment for this latest entry in the series. Nameless he may be, but Cassel’s ruthless, vicious assassin isn’t just another Treadstone robot. He’s got a long history that he brings with him and his natural aggression, cold calculation and skill – that haven’t had to be indoctrinated into him by the CIA’s scientists – make him not only Bourne’s biggest threat to date, but one of the most interesting characters in Jason Bourne.

Jason Bourne is an excellent entry into this already excellent franchise. Its problems are no more than minor irritations in an overall amazing experience. By the time you have gotten to the end (and that Moby track has been remixed for the fifth time in the credits) you are breathless, exhilarated, and considering hiding up the back and waiting for the next screening to start just to you can watch it again. So it arbitrarily sets up another entry in the series; and that kind of makes you wonder just how much more this guy can remember, but you just don’t care. You’ve had too good a time to focus on silly shit like that.

The Danish Girl

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“I’ve only liked a handful of people in my life, and you’ve been two of them.”

Sometimes, a film can be so powerful that simply watching it emotes such a strong feeling about its themes and subjects that you can’t help but sympathise with the characters on the screen. No matter how far removed you are from these on-screen personalities, you can’t help but get yourself worked up, wanting the best for these people and getting angry when things aren’t going the way they should.

Sadly, The Danish Girl isn’t the film to get you going like that. Instead, it’s a complete waste of two hours that resolves nothing and invoked nothing but boredom and annoyance no matter how hard I was trying to sympathise with those onscreen.

Another one of these “inspired by true events” films, The Danish Girl is the story of Einer Wegener (Eddie Redmayne) a man who – after his painter wife Gerner (Alicia Vikander) asks him to stand in for a female model who didn’t show up for a portrait session – suddenly finds himself intrigued by the feelings that the women’s clothes he’s had to wear bring out in him. As time goes on, Einer develops a taste for not just wearing the clothes, but playing the part of a woman. Encouraging her husband’s desires, Gerner helps to make the man she married feel comfortable in his own skin and teaches him how to make himself look like the woman he yearns to be.

But this is the 1920’s. Not only is this not the done thing, it’s something you can be committed for. So he keeps his secret while spending more and more time being the woman he now believes he was born to be. As he gradually becomes she, Einer’s alter-ego Lili becomes the prominent and dominant personality and his marriage dissolves until it becomes little more than a convenience for the pair of them. As Lili’s personality grows and she allows herself to spend time with other men, Gerner is nothing more to him than the woman that taught him how to be a woman.

I watch films like this for more than just entertainment. They should be gateways into a world that I can’t understand and genuinely want to understand. I can’t even begin to pretend to know what a transgender person goes through; the turmoil and the suffering of having to live in a way that simply doesn’t feel natural to them. I desperately want it explained in such a way that I, a complete meat head, can understand. Unfortunately, that’s not what I get with The Danish Girl. What I get is a two hour long fluff piece, made on the back of a couple of years of LGBTQ issues being in the spotlight, from a director (Tom Hooper) who seemed to peak with The King’s Speech and is content to sail through on a sea of mediocrity in the years following.

The story of the man that ultimately becomes one of the first recorded people to receive gender reassignment surgery is not only handled poorly but I simply can’t find it in myself to care for the people on screen. Vikander’s performance is great (as her performances always are) and when this film gets the politically correct nominations at Oscar time, hers will be the only one deserving of the nomination. On the flip-side, Eddie Redmayne needs to do us all a favour and just stop. I don’t find him believable, I don’t find him likeable and I definitely think he should have become famous playing Doctor Who and staying away from films that should be culturally important but can’t be because of his presence.

Do yourself a favour. If you want a poignant and powerful film about the struggles that transgender people go through, leave this half-arsed Oscar-bait alone and find yourself a copy of Kimberly Pierce’s Boys Don’t Cry, because this film, and Redmayne’s performance, pale in comparison to Hilary Swank’s genuinely hard hitting drama.

Burnt

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“If it isn’t perfect, throw it away.”

I tried my very hardest to find something positive to write about Burnt. But as I sat in the cinema watching it, wanting desperately to leave after the first twenty minutes, I couldn’t think of a single good thing to be said about this, the most awful of films I’ve watched in recent memory.

I’m not talking about films like The Intern, shitty, not at all funny comedies, I’m talking about a film that doesn’t have a shred of decent filmmaking anywhere in the nearly two hours I suffered through to bring you this review. I was already a bit skeptical when I read other write-ups on it, how its star power can’t save it and how it’s just not that good, but I tried to go in open-minded and not be swayed by the naysayers; maybe they were wrong?

It turns out they were. Just not in the direction that I was hoping. The reality of the film was far worse than I thought it could be.

The story of Bradley Cooper’s Adam Jones, a once great chef who lost it all to booze, drugs and women is nothing short of cliché ridden nonsense. Having served a self-imposed penance; going sober, celebate and cracking oyster shells, Jones finds his way to London where he convinces his friend Tony (Daniel Brühl) to open a new restaurant an let him chase his third Michelin star. He gets himself an all-star team of chefs, including Sienna Miller and Omar Sy and starts on his journey for the most hallowed of restaurant accolades, all while his past – including ex-girlfriend Alicia Vikander – is trying to catch up with him.

On paper, it sounds a bit, well, meh. But actually watching this ghastly piece of shit was far more painful, and brought on far more anger, than I thought possible. Let’s start with the really, really obvious shall we? You and I are supposed to feel sorry for this clown. Oh, he’s had such a hard time and he’s trying so hard to make amends, fuck right off. This guy is a spiteful, hateful asshat and to feel sympathy for him would mean I first gave the slightest shit whether he was allowed to cook or not. And let’s be clear about this, we aren’t seeing him drag himself up by his bootlaces and find his way in the world. Within ten minutes of him being on screen we are well on the way to him opening a restaurant with his name on the poxy door; to be filled with pretentious twats that think it’s ok to spend £300 on a third of a plate of food made by an equally pretentious twat that thinks it’s ok to throw away £300 of food because it’s “not perfect”. Cooked in a room filled with utter tool bags that think it’s ok to have pictures of cleavers and wooden spoons tattooed on them. I couldn’t care less about your situation pal, you want my sympathy? You want me to care about you? Get thee to a Harvester and shut the fuck up!

You can’t endear yourself to me by being such an abysmal human being that you don’t let your chefs have the day off for their kid’s birthday, yelling at people Gordon Ramsey style and physically abusing the one chick in your kitchen, mate. But “oh no, your dream is vanishing before your eyes” as the mate you fucked over years ago returns to fuck you right back! Good. You deserve nothing less for the pain and suffering you are putting all of us in the theatre through watching as you try to prove you’re not a has-been, as you try to bring drama to a plate of fish and as you swear off women for life but get the girl anyway. Please, dear god, just piss off.

Do yourself a favour, there is nothing here to see. Even the usual talents of the usually decent Cooper and the awesome Vikander aren’t worth swiping your Unlimited card for. There are far better ways to spend an afternoon. I mean, you could watch that latest John Lewis Christmas ad on a constant loop for a couple of hours. It’d be far more entertaining and less like a household chore you’re being forced to do naked in front of your entire family.

The Man from U.N.C.L.E.

by Andrew Brooker (@Brooker411)

The Man From UNCLE“For a special agent, you’re not having a very special day are you?”

After reviewing Mission: Impossible 5 the other week, and being thought of as extremely old by a certain podcast host who invited me to share my memories of the M:I TV show because he’s not old enough to remember it, I promised myself I wouldn’t write my The Man From U.N.C.L.E review with stories of my love of the TV show and watching it on random afternoons with my nan. But seeing as no one else I know seems to have ever heard of the adventures of Napoleon Solo and Illya Kuryakin (a name I will only type once, because boy that squiggly red line is long), I am also around 97% sure that I may have just read a Wikipedia article about the TV show and dreamt about actually watching it.

So I will absolutely not be talking about how U.N.C.L.E ran for four years in the mid-sixties, slowly going from mostly serious espionage to slapstick parody. I won’t be able to tell you that it starred Robert Vaughn; a lot of people know him nowadays from BBC’s Hustle and David McCallum; who, apart from other sixties TV shows, I only know him from The Great Escape (apparently, he’s in NCIS, but as we’ve established, I’m not actually THAT old!) and I certainly have no idea about the show and how it turned the world’s Cold War fears on its head by teaming up a Russian and an American agent working for a spy organisation run by a British intelligence officer who, between them, would rescue innocent people caught in the crossfire and save us all when the bad guys tried to take over the world.

Another in a long line of old TV and film favourites being remade for modern audiences, Guy Ritchie’s The Man From U.N.C.L.E sees Man of Steels Henry Cavill and The Lone Ranger’s Armie Hammer buddying up as the unwitting multi-national spy super team; put together mere hours after they’ve been at each other’s throats in 1960’s Berlin trying to extract a valuable asset in the worlds continuing nuclear arms race.  Cavill’s Napoleon Solo, a suave ex-con recruited into the CIA because of his extraordinary skills as a professional thief, has found himself on the wrong side of the Berlin Wall on a mission to get Gaby Teller (the always brilliant Alicia Vikander) the daughter of an important nuclear scientist out of Germany and back to his superiors where she can help locate her missing father.  At the same time, the pair are being chased by Hammer’s almost super-human Russian agent, Illya Kuryakin (ok, I’ll type it twice, but that’s it) a man on the exact same mission, but has been briefed on Solo’s background and given orders to kill him if necessary. Escaping by the skin of his teeth, Solo leaves the Russian embarrassed and unsuccessful in his mission and goes on about his evening of being suave, sophisticated and charming.

Now teamed up, the spy’s must use every means at their disposal, including Gaby Teller, to stop an impending nuclear disaster, dismantle a shady criminal organisation and, if at all possible, not kill each other in the process. 

In true 1960’s TV and film fashion (or so I’ve heard, I’m not very old after all, practically a foetus), the pair and their ward trot about Europe undercover in an attempt to get to the bottom of a mystery that could easily bring about the end of the world.  Chasing terrorists and crazy German doctors alike, the pair find themselves woven into a web of cold-war conspiracies and half-truths as they galavant around the most fashionable time in our recent history to bring justice to he world.  Constantly trying to one-up each other, working together while trying very hard to work separately in the most mismatched buddy cop movie you’ll see this year, the reluctant partners edge closer to the mysterious organisation, their polar opposite skill-sets begin to compliment each other and what started as a forced partnership slowly develops into the perfect crime fighting duo.

The Man From U.N.C.L.E does a splendid job playing to its weaknesses.  It was always considered a bit of a James Bond rip-off (fun fact: Bond creator Ian Fleming was involved in the creation of U.N.C.L.E) and Ritchie takes that feeling and runs with it. Unlike films of its ilk like Mission: Impossible or The Saint, we are not treated to a modernisation of the U.N.C.L.E story. Instead, the filmmakers decided to keep it the film rooted in the show’s 1960’s heritage and that not only separates it from the rest of the films of this particular variety, but fits perfectly into the film making style of its director. Anyone that’s seen Ritchie’s early work, Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels or Snatch, will easily recognise the same film style in U.N.C.L.E all these years later.

The bright colours and high class fashion of the idolised 1960’s is on full display here; with Guy Ritchie and his production crew’s attention to detail working wonders in transporting us back fifty years and allowing us to bask in the light of the film’s transcontinental setting. Invoking everything from early TV spy shows like the movie’s inspiration to the Moore and Connery Bonds that we all know and love, Man From U.N.C.L.E is a splendid two hour romp through the espionage thrillers of the past, seen through Guy Ritchie’s Instagram filter directing style and our own rose-tinted memories of the sixties.

I’ve read reviews since I left the cinema that slate U.N.C.L.E for its lack of star power and direction. I don’t think I could disagree more. Henry Cavill and Armie Hammer may not be the world’s biggest stars or the kind of names you can put on a poster to guarantee box office numbers, but they do a brilliant job of bringing Napoleon Solo and Illya Kuryakin (DAMMIT!) to the big screen and while their star power may not be that of Tom Cruise or George Clooney, one could very easily argue that neither was Daniel Craig before he was bond, but look at him now.  Cavill’s suave and slick American thief is the perfect partner for Hammer’s hard-as-nails Russian sledgehammer and together the pair form a formidable team in the struggle to keep the world safe.

Don’t let the naysayers put you off. The Man From U.N.C.L.E is a great way to spend a couple of hours.  It’s brilliant fun, it’s the most un-blockbuster-y blockbuster we’ll see this summer and I would gladly go and watch it again tomorrow if I didn’t have such a busy schedule of afternoon naps and filling my cardigan pockets with Werther’s Originals to tackle.

Ex Machina

Never mind what I think of this well plotted, intelligent and entertaining sci-fi drama; how does Ex Machina make you feel?

by Owen Hughes (@ohughes86)

ex machinaDeus ex machina, literally “God from the machine”, is presumably a phrase you’ve come across at some point in your life. I was first made aware of its proper meaning by a friend of mine a long time ago when talking about some comic book or other. He explained it as like when a God steps in at the last minute at the end of a Greek tragedy to save the hero (such as Athena stepping in at the end of the Odyssey). It’s probably why the phrase is sometimes also referred to as “the hand of God”. Traditionally introducing a device – divine or otherwise – when the characters are backed into a corner to produce a happy ending.

Think of those bloody eagles in The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey. All seems lost, the characters have no tricks left up their sleeve, doom is imminent. Suddenly, *poof*, just like that they’re rescued by some massive birds out of nowhere and all is well again… save for the fact they’re now stranded on the top of a rather tall mountain, but that’s besides the point.

Quite how the film’s title Ex Machina relates to the plot of Alex Garland’s directorial debut is fairly self explanatory. Suffice to say, ‘God from the machine’ is more appropriate than (the erroneous) ‘hand of God’. Garland is already familiar to most cinephiles as a novelist and the screenwriter behind some of Danny Boyle’s best work; including 28 Days Later, Sunshine and the original novel for The Beach. Not only that, he’s recently found more cult success by being the mighty pen behind Judge Dredd and his deadly lawgiver in 2012’s action thriller Dredd. Given that his name is also attached to an upcoming Halo film, you would be forgiven for perhaps expecting this sci-fi about potentially the most advanced form of Artificial Intelligence to also be rather loud, colourful and explosive.

Forgiven, because you would be wrong. Just like the script for the similarly ominously low-key and unsettling sci-fi that Garland also adapted, Never Let Me Go, the role of Ex Machina appears to be less about dazzling you with special effects (as amazingly well realised as they are with the mechanical Ava gliding across the screen, full internal cogs whirring inside of her transparent abdomen) and more about making you think. Or, I suppose, as fitting as it is, making you feel. Putting logic to one-side and using your imagination and full range of emotions to be affected rather than to analyse. To really be a human and not a machine.

Which leads me on nicely to the plot! It revolves around the talented Irish actor Domhnall Gleeson’s character ‘Caleb’, an American programmer working for a company that owns and develops the world’s leading internet search engine. We are first introduced to Caleb as he’s sat at his desk, white headphones protruding from his ears with stilted sound emanating as he checks his email inbox to find he has won a competition. His prize is to spend a week with the company’s CEO, Nathan, at his wilderness retreat. What transpires is that Nathan (played by the often underrated yet exceptionally talented Oscar Isaac), despite being a heavy drinker, believes he has created a genuine Artificial Intelligence called Ava; and Caleb is to be the lucky recipient who gets to perform the Turing test on it to determine if it (or ‘she’) is sentient or not.

Throughout the course of the film, Garland attempts to navigate a few of the more theoretical issues and complexities of AI by having Nathan drag Caleb away from his very analytical approach to the Turing test. He’d rather Caleb simply express how he feels when communicating with Ava, which is a perfectly acceptable way to prevent the film being bogged down in philosophies and jargon. It can be a little grating when films make characters speak out loud their emotions; if an actor and a script is good enough, you shouldn’t have to have someone explicitly state that they feel anything, you should just be able to see it and know. However, such is the type of film Ex Machina is that it really does work to quickly and succinctly help you understand the nature of the relationship developing between its three primary characters.

Speaking of whom, Ava’s plight is wholly sympathetic whilst being shrouded in a menacing aura. Trapped for her entire existence in a small glass room by Nathan, never experiencing the outside world or anything beyond the confines of her cage, she seemingly begins to form a bond with Caleb. Quite possibly due to the way she looks (rather like the stunning actress Alicia Vikander that’s playing her, funnily enough) you immediately empathise with her; you want her to be free. It’s a natural gut instinct to feel that putting someone behind bars who hasn’t done anything wrong is unjustified. In a way, it makes her the good guy. But being behind a window, separated from human contact like that, it does also add an element of danger to Ava. Before Caleb first meets her to commence the experiment, he notices a slight crack in the partition, which suggests either someone was trying to get in, or that something was trying to get out. As Ava declares that Caleb is the first human she has met other than Nathan, it sets the tone for what’s to come very fittingly. Some of the conversations that Ava and Caleb have during their sessions are both fascinating and, like other parts of the film, genuinely amusing. The film is not completely bone dry; as much as every scene gives the impression that it means something, how funny it can be takes you by surprise on occasion.

There’s also quite a few themes that Garland brings up along the relatively tight 108 minute run time. An impending robocalypse being one of them, as you might expect! The thought of the human race being wiped out by a race of super computers is not an entirely new theory, but is always terrifying to think about. Garland also brings the role of sexuality into his film, and how it’s required in a species. That it’s a need to be a sexual entity, rather than completely sexless, in order to force an organism (for want of a better word) to grow and to evolve. If you’re not already wondering why Ava is designed to look female at the point in the movie when Nathan explains his decision, then it’s a good point for the audience to re-evaluate what has been seen so far. Why would Nathan, a man, attempt to create self-aware intelligence and choose to make it look, act and behave like a female? What is his purpose? There’s a lot of questions raised if you look for them beyond basically “why is character [a] doing [this]”.

Another topic that is called into question is that of information gathering. Putting your life into a search engine term that creates something as a whole to define who you really are is quite a scary concept. The idea that Nathan’s company would scan everybody’s phones, their cameras, their profiles and search history (illegally, mind you) in order to make his robot learn to look and act more human is deeply disturbing. You also don’t have to be a genius to work out that it is in no small part a social commentary on what we are already doing in the real world. Or even what certain companies who own internet search engines could well be doing with that information right now. You have no idea – and more worryingly, no control.

It’s also a bizarre coincidence that Domhnall Gleeson was in the Black Mirror episode ‘Be Right Back’ where he played a lifelike synthetic representation of his character after an artificial personality profile was compiled using data from his online presence. Both this episode and Ex Machina attempt to make you aware of the digital footprint you are leaving every single day and how costly that may be.

There’s a quote from Ex Machina which has appeared in the theatrical trailer, where you hear Ava say to Nathan:

Is it strange to have made something that hates you?

There are many ways to interpret this line. At first, you could easily interpret this as Ava, a machine with a true consciousness, simply detesting her manufacturer for locking her away, depriving her of both the world outside and the man she has apparently grown to act like she loves. Of course whether this love is something programmed into her, something she has developed naturally, something unquantifiable, or whether it’s not really love at all, is not really the point being made in this particular line of dialogue.

Another way to look at it is as a genuine question about whether it is normal for a creation to hate its creator? Again, drawing on themes not explicitly discussed such as religion perhaps and even looking at the role of father/daughter relationships. A rebellious teenage girl doing whatever the opposite of her dad wants, or man’s spurning of a God who supposedly loves them, or rather more sinister is the idea that a machine is looking down on an inferior species with a cold and calculating disdain. There are many ways to look at it and the beauty of the film is that it never closes off these avenues for you. It’s open, it’s out there, and it’s for you to decide what you think.

As the plot goes on, things get a bit weirder without ever straying too far from its slightly predictable basis. The manner in which the final act will occur is not completely hidden from the viewer early on – and it does feel slightly rushed to get to the main point. But it is yet another clever example of the difference between man and machine. It’s why success in a species cannot be defined by who will live the longest, or whose population will be densest, or even who is the most intelligent. The smartest man in the room is not always right. However, as a proposal of some interesting ideas, acted out well by its cast with a completely engrossing plot and some sharp writing, it’s an entertaining way to spend an hour and a half watching the birth of an artificial intelligence that does not require your clothes, your boots or your motorcycle.

Ex Machina is in UK cinemas right now and will be the main review on this week’s special ‘Artificial Intelligence’ themed Failed Critics Podcast.