jenn and i watched ex machina the other night. it was actually pretty good! i bet you didn’t see that comment coming.
but don’t worry, it wasn’t all roses. i mean, i liked most of it — i liked the story. i liked the aesthetics, i thought everything looked great. i liked how fucking tense every scene with nathan and caleb was, even if nathan’s character was a little over the top super-cool-and-chill-but-also-aggro-bro-alpha-male. i liked how difficult it was to predict each character’s motives. but what absolutely fucking sucked and virtually destroyed the film for me was the ‘so bad i can’t tell if it’s a joke’ acting of the main guy, domhnall gleeson.
no matter what kind of vibe he was supposed to have in any given scene, gleeson managed to do it with the subtlety and conviction you usually find in a 6th grade christmas pageant. for example, if he’s supposed to be really suspicious of nathan and nervous but trying to play it cool, he totally overdoes it so that if it were real life, you’d say “what the fuck is wrong with you? why are you fidgeting and using halting speech with awkward pauses and blinking so much and glancing around shiftily?” he overacts like crazy, is what i’m basically saying. it’s awful.
i don’t think i’m doing justice to just how bad gleeson’s performance is. it’s tough to do that over writing, especially for a ham-fisted dunce with words like myself. but take my word for it, or better yet, watch it yourself and witness the horror. i honestly don’t know how the director could do such solid work on most other aspects of the film and then let this obvious, disastrous flaw slide through. it just doesn’t make sense. maybe gleeson has some dirt on him and asked for this ‘favour.’ otherwise, you think the director would have watched the final cut of the film and said “ahhh, fuck. i should have listened to my gut on this one. gleeson totally fucked up the whole film. now i have to reshoot the entire thing with a different actor, someone who can actually act.” it’s really that bad.
one other complaint, the CGI during the knifing scene was so, so fucking shitty. i think CGI always sucks but this was like CGI circa 1999. it looked like a god damn crappy cartoon. the difference is real animation would have looked better. what the fuck is it with CGI, why do film makers use it when it’s obviously so fucking inferior? there must be rock bottom prices for it from an overcrowded field of computer nerds, versus stupid high prices for the few people who are great at real special effects and real animation. you can’t tell me the new jurassic park looks better than the original star wars films. if you do, we’re not friends.
long and short of this is that despite the lead actor’s garbage efforts and the ridiculously stupid knife effects, i think ex machina a pretty decent sci fi thriller. 6.5/10 or something like that.