Hello, there! My name is Preston Barta, and I am the features editor of Fresh Fiction and senior film critic at the Denton Record-Chronicle. My cinematic love story began where I was born: off planet on the isolated desert world of the Jakku system. It's there I passed the time scavenging for loose parts with my good friend Rey. One day I found an old film projector and a dusty reel of the 1975 film JAWS. It rocked my world so much that I left my kinfolk in the rearview (I so miss their morning cups of green milk) to pursue my dreams of writing about film. It wasn't long until I met two gents who said they would give me a lift. I can't recall their names, but one was an older man who liked to point a lot and the other was a tall, hairy fella. They got me as far as one of Jupiter's moons where we crossed paths with the U.S.S. Enterprise. Some pointy-eared bastard said I was clear to come aboard. He saw that I was clutching my beloved shark movie and invited me to the "moving pictures room" where he was screening the 1993 film JURASSIC PARK to his crew. He said my life would be much more prosperous if I were familiar with more work by the god named Steven Spielberg. From there, my love for cinema blossomed. Once we reached planet Earth, everything changed. I found the small town of Denton, TX, and was welcomed into the Barta family. They showed me the writings of local film critic Boo Allen. He became my hero and caused me to chase a degree in film and journalism. After my studies at graduate of the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, I met some film critics who showed me the ropes and got me into my first press screening: 2011's THE GREEN LANTERN. Don't worry; I recovered just fine. MAD MAX: FURY ROAD was only four years away.
Oscar Isaac and Domhnall Gleeson (both to appear in J.J. Abram’s STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS later this year) star in the thrilling story of a quest to prove the emotional intelligence of a robot. While there are other films this year tackling this very subject, such as CHAPPIE and AVENGERS: AGE OF ULTRON, I’m willing to bet none of them will be as raw and realistic as EX MACHINA.
One of the reasons why this is so is because of writer-director Alex Garland, who is mostly known for his script work for 28 DAYS LATER and SUNSHINE. Now, the filmmaker takes his talents behind the camera in his directorial debut, and what a debut it is. You’ll think you’ve experienced true art, but then you’ll see EX MACHINA— a game changing film, not only of the genre, but of film itself.
The film follows Domhnall Gleeson (FRANK) as a programmer hired to perform a Turing test on Ava (an exceptional Alicia Vikander), a lifelike A.I. created by a reclusive genius played by the scene-stealing Oscar Isaac (INSIDE LLEWYN DAVIS).
Fresh Fiction had the opportunity to speak with Oscar Isaac, Domhnall Gleeson and Alex Garland on the red carpet for the film’s North American premiere at South by Southwest. We discussed the film’s inspiration and finding light in the darkness– metaphorically speaking that is.
EX MACHINA will screen again at SXSW on Friday, Mar. 20 at the Topfer Theatre at ZACH in Austin, TX. The film will open in theaters everywhere on Apr. 10.