A few hours ago Deadline‘s Anthony D’Alessandro reported that Alex Garland‘s Ex Machina is an indie hit based on three indicators — (a) the $5.44 million earned this weekend by the sci-fi chiller is A24’s biggest ever, (b) “fans around the web” are calling it “Blade Runner meets The Social Network” and (c) an intrepid Deadline editor noticed that an 8:25 pm screening of Ex Machina at the ArcLight Sherman Oaks last night was “75% full.”
Has the HE community noticed any special currents out there? Attended any screenings that were 75% full or better? Details, quotes, particulars.
Ex Machina “is a chilly but never dull behavioral thing — techy, beautifully designed, fascinating and definitely creepy at times,” I wrote on 4.8. “It comes alive and gets under your skin (or it did mine, at least) because of a certain tone of casual, no-big-deal eccentricity.
“It’s not what anyone would call a comforting film, but director Alex Garland composes and delivers a certain low-key, spotless vibe that feels…well, ordered. There’s never a feeling of emotional chaos — everything happens with deliberacy. Call it a vibe of crisp efficiency with an underlying feeling of something malevolent around the corner.
“Fitting right into this is Oscar Isaac‘s Nathan, a super-rich, laid-back genius nutbag with a beard and a shaved head who has a low-key, no-big-deal, ‘I already know this’ attitude about everything. Everything happens in a cool, downplayed, matter-of-fact way, and Garland, to his immense and lasting credit, never overcranks the emotion.
“The first interesting part is how emotionally engaging Alicia Vikander‘s robot — called Ava — is. Visually she’s never much more than a pretty face with a half-plastic, half-CG body with an airy mid-section, but she’s just as dimensional as Nathan and in some ways a bit more so. The truth? She’s sad, polite, patient, inquisitive and — odd but true — erotically enticing. I’ve never wanted to “do” a robot before — that’s saying something.
“Filmed for about $15 million but looking and sounding a lot pricier, Ex Machina‘s digital and prosthetic effects are clean and deft and about as state-of-the-art as it gets in this, the year of Our Lord 2015.
“Ex Machina is satisfyingly adult and appropriately technical — a sci-fi creeper that does the expected thing but in ways that add unexpected, somewhat atypical qualities. I came out of the screening room going ‘yeah…yeah…not bad. Actually better than not bad.'”