Three characters trapped in a house debating human consciousness may not sound like the most exciting backbone for a movie. Yet in "Ex Machina," the directing debut for writer Alex Garland, that dry-sounding concept becomes the basis for a sci-fi thriller of sleek, gleaming surfaces and impressive intellectual depth, somehow managing to feel modern, futuristic and classical all at once.
"The challenge is - and this is such a bad way to sell a movie - the challenge is how do you make a movie which is basically a film of ideas?" Garland said recently. "And then part of the challenge is making those ideas accessible and dramatically interesting and trying to understand them."