The other day I got the chance to see Ex-Machina. I missed this when it was in theaters, and I when i started watching it at home I knew right away that was a mistake. The film is visually and aurally marvelous. This type of film really hasn't existed until recently: the independent cgi wonder. I've noticed that smaller budgets oftentimes bring better results. The economic limitations enforce creative restraint. The creators are more careful and democratic with their decisions. This sort of craftsmanship oftentimes doesn't exist in giant blockbusters with bottomless pocketbooks.
Ex-Machina never feels like a cartoon, or a video game cutscene. The effects are in service to the story, and the characters. The actresses' facial performance is the strongest focus, not the cgi used on her robotic body. The decisions made on her robotic body, and the skin that covers it are all artistically designed to visually reinforce what the character represents and communicates to the audience. The way the robotic mesh covering her body becomes transparent or visible depending on how it catches light, weaving between the innards of the robot or the contour of the girl exemplifies the question of her identity. Which is she? Both? Neither? Is the answer more complicated?
The film rattles your cage in the best way, and gives you eye candy as the cherry on top.