Delve into this thought provoking British psychological thriller
Written and directed by Alex Garland on his directing debut, and starring Domnhall Gleeson, Alicia Vikander and Oscar Isaac, Ex Machina (stylized as ex_machina) was produced on a budget of $15 million ,engrossed $36.9 million worldwide and received critical acclaim. The film won an Academy Award for best visual effects over big budget movies ( even above Star Wars:The Force Awakens and the Martian to name a few).
The plot tells the story of programmer Caleb (Gleeson) who is invited by his eccentric, billionaire employer, Nathan (Isaac) to conduct the Turing test on an android with artificial intelligence that Nathan has developed. The Turing test was developed by Alan Turing in 1950 and tests a machines behavior to find whether it exhibits human like tendancies ( similar to cleverbot! have a conversation with a robot here: http://cleverbot.com ), if said machine passes , its behavior is inextinguishable to a human.
Caleb is a guest as Nathans secluded, lavish home for a week and administers tests on Ava the android (Vikander) daily. The only other person besides the android and Nathan in his home is his servant and sex partner Kyoko, who does not speak any English, as he insists on a regular basis in a rude and demeaning manner. Caleb points out that in this case the turing test is unfair, as Caleb knows Ava is an AI; but Nathan nimble-wittedly tells Caleb that she has already surpassed a simple version of the Turing test and he wants Caleb to try and relate to Ava knowing she is artificial.
Ava has a robotic looking body but a human looking face, she is kept in her apartment complex during her talks with caleb, Throughout the tests, they are both closely monitored by means of CCTV by Nathan. As they grow closer Ava expresses a romantic interest in Caleb and a desire to experience the outside world. She also reveals she can trigger power outages that allow her and Caleb to talk privately by disabling the surveillance system , this also locks all doors in the facility. During one outage, Ava immediately turns very direct and states that Nathan is a compulsive liar who cannot be trusted.
During the week Caleb becomes increasingly irritated with Nathans attitude towards Ava, Kyoko and his general narcissistic persona and learns that Nathan intends to reprogram Ava ,essentially killing her in the process of doing so. One night Nathan drinks too much and passes out, Caleb steals his security card , accesses his room and computer, discovering footage of Nathan interacting with previous androids in disturbing ways. He also learns that Kyoko is an android. Later , Caleb self harms in his room to gain self-assurance of his humanity.
During the next testing day, Ava cuts the power and Caleb informs her of Nathans intentions, Ava is distraught and begs Caleb to help, Caleb tells Ava he will get Nathan drunk , steal his security card again, and change some code so when the power is cut, the doors will open so they can escape together. Caleb attempts to get Nathan drunk, but fails as Nathan reveals he has been observing them on a backup camera when the blackouts happen, and states that she has passed the test, as Ava has feigned her love for Caleb in order to have a chance to escape.
Caleb responds stating that he knew Nathan was watching, so modified the system the other day when Nathan was passed out, as Ava cuts the power on cue, Nathan sucker punches Caleb, knocking him unconscious and rushes to prevent Ava from escaping, with help from Kyoko, Ava kills Nathan, but Kyoko dies in the process and Ava is wounded. She repairs herself with artificial skin and parts from earlier androids taking the full appearance of a human. As Caleb regains consciousness, Ava walks by the door he is locked behind, looks back once , and leaves the facility by elevator , Caleb is left behind as she is picked up by the helicopter that was supposed to pick Caleb up.
The film is very thought provoking in its entirety , I was captivated from the very beginning and is well worth a watch.
Watch the trailer here.