Geometrically suspenseful, methodically haunting.
Using the Turing Test as both subject matter and filmmaking approach, writer/director Alex Garland crafts a methodical, seemingly clinical, ultimately human (or at least, humanly messy) examination of what it is to be human. The geometry of Rob Hardy‘s cinematography showcases the incremental precision of the three lead performances from Alicia Vikander, Domnhall Gleeson and a terrifying Oscar Isaac (who also, together with Sonoya Mizuno, gifts us with that dance sequence)… what a claustrophobic, haunting good time.
I don’t think this is a secret or even subtle element of the film – much in the same way Nathan (Oscar Isaac) says the point is that Caleb knows from the beginning that Ava is a machine, the film tells us where it’s going almost immediately, and the enjoyment is in seeing how it gets there. Michael from Lessons from the Screenplay analyses The Control of Information in Ex Machina:
Ex Machina‘s writer/director Alex Garland (along with Domnhall Gleeson and Alicia Vikander) describes how the film’s production managed to balance a tight shooting schedule with space for creativity (via Film 4):