ByGriffin Fuller, writer at

Welcome back to the list of my favorite movies of 2015. There are only two movies left to reveal. Thank you to all of the people who have read any section of these posts. If this is the first entry that you are reading, go back and look at the rest of the list. I appreciate all of the reads and I hope you enjoy number two.

#2: Ex-Machina

Sometimes, the movie that one has little information about turns out to be one hell of a movie. For me, that was Ex-Machina. When I saw the trailer, it did not intrigue me much. There was little desire to watch this movie for most of the year. I had heard good things about it here and there, but the true reason I watched it was because it was free on Amazon Prime. The movie follows this programmer who is invited out to an internet search engine CEO’s exotic house. There, the internet mogul (played by Oscar Isaac) requests his guest (played by Domhnail Gleeson) to run the Turing test on an A.I. that he created. Throughout the movie, more is revealed that Isaac’s character is not the man the programmer thinks that he is. The programmer begins to realize that his invitation was not random and that the Turing test is not as simple as it appears.

This movie is a masterpiece of science fiction film making. It takes a standard plot line of the genre and gives it a slight twist in order to create a fresh feeling. The movie is thoroughly intriguing as the audience is attempting to discover what Bateman (Isaac) is truly trying to discover. Throwing in elements of mystery, Ex-Machina keeps the audience pondering while enjoying incredible acting. Oscar Isaac is excellent at portraying the shady genius who uses people solely for his personal gain. The character that Isaac is playing allows him to demonstrate a dark side to his acting abilities, one which makes me excited to see him play Apocalypse in the upcoming X-Men movie. He is a commanding presence in his role, especially playing off of Gleeson’s subservient character. Shifting to Gleeson’s performance, he leads the audiences in through the movie. As he is, the audience is the outsider in this environment and must discover the truth behind the façade. Gleeson is able to play his role perfectly where there is great sympathy on his character as he is constantly being played. When he achieves minor victories in the plot, the audience feels good for him. Meanwhile, when things turn against him, there is a feeling of anguish because you pity the man. By no stretch is the character a fool though; he becomes lost in the glamor of the excitement before piecing together the truth. However, this review would be amiss without mentioning the incredible performance of Alicia Vikander in her role as Ava (the A.I.). Vikander has a difficult role because she has to mesh multiple parts of a personality into one role. As Ava, she must be convincing as an artificial intelligence while presenting herself in a seductive aura and demonstrating innocence and curiosity. There are actors and actresses who fail to achieve one of those ingredients into a role. The movie as a whole is strongly acted. The audience remains around three central characters who are able to captivate and play off of each other incredibly well. Meeting the challenge in full stride, the cast of this movie provide some of the best acting of the year.

Alex Garland makes his directorial debut with Ex-Machina. If this is a sample of his capabilities, then Garland may have a very successful career ahead of him. Not only did he direct the movie, he wrote the screenplay for it as well. He is nominated for an Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay, which is rightfully deserved. Both the directing and writing of this movie are outstanding. There is no filler time throughout the movie. At no point did I feel like the movie was dragging on or being extended for no particular reason. Also, every piece of dialogue is effective and serves a purpose in the movie. Every lie that Bateman says is important to the plot and deception of the movie. The script is written very intelligently where the twist is hidden behind numerous lies when addressed semi-directly. I would compare it to a magician distracting the audience with smaller tricks before unveiling the grand finale that is being constructed before the audience’s eyes. Garland turns a small movie into a presence at the Academy Awards with one nomination in a stronger category (it is also nominated for Best Visual Effects).

As I mentioned earlier, I did not have must interest originally for this movie upon seeing the trailer. It was one of those movies where I thought that it would be a movie I would watch on TV or Netflix. Essentially, I did not feel that this movie would be worth going to the theaters for. Well, I was incredibly wrong with that assumption. This movie blew me away from start to finish. Unfortunately for me, I had to leave in the middle of it and wait to finish it later in the day. During the time I was away from my tablet, all I could think about was the movie. This movie gripped me to the point where I was impatiently waiting to get back to it. The ending of the movie is a strong conclusion to a well-crafted film. Ex-Machina entertains throughout without missing a beat along the way. There is nothing to complain about in the movie itself. The acting, directing, writing, visuals, etc. are all flawless. This movie would be my favorite movie if I was purely a critic. Critically, this movie has no rival (from what I saw from 2015). Why is this movie not my favorite movie of 2015? Well, this answer is two part. Part one: my favorite of 2015 not only satisfied the inner critic in me, but entertained me as if it were a popcorn flick. Part two: I find it difficult to believe in the main plot of the movie. It has nothing to do with the script or the acting. For me, it is difficult to envision a creator of an A.I. performing this test for any reason. That fact does not ruin the movie for me; it simply creates a sense of disbelief in the plot.

Ex-Machina surprised me more than any other movie this year. It dominated other films that I thought I was going to love way more than I ever would this one. But there is one movie that beat it out. Thank you to all of the people who have read this post. I cannot tell you how much I appreciate the support. If this was your first entry of mine you read, go back and read the other posts of this list. If you are enjoying these entries, please follow my page here on Moviepilot at I encourage you to comment below about any movie stuff. Comment about your thoughts on the article, about the movie, about the list thus far. Also, since this list will end in a day or so, leave comments about stuff you would want me to write about or discuss. Follow me on Twitter @talkmoviestome. Once again, thank you all for reading this.


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