This is for the rare subgroup of people that read this site that aren’t already familiar with Alex Garland.
Garland wrote The Beach, which was later into a movie by like-minded filmmaker Danny Boyle, which led to the two collaborating on two films I think are great, 28 Days Later and Sunshine (the latter film being one I can watch over and over again without ever tiring of it). Garland made his directorial debut earlier this year with Ex Machina, a movie that puts the scene and philosophy back at the heart of a term like science fiction thriller. And it is a thriller.
I watched it last week and immediately ordered it on Blu-ray, and watched it again earlier this evening, discovering that while the surprises and twists that can only be delivered upon the first viewing were now absent some of their power, the film as a whole resonated more powerfully. The subsequent viewing allowed me a bit of detachment from the action, giving me the freedom to focus more on some of the subtexts and story bits I missed the first time around.
If you haven’t seen it, you really should. It’s a stunner. Check out the trailer, though do so knowing the exposition in its first couple lines doesn’t actually happen in the movie—the film deals with exposition far more gracefully and intelligently.