Taglines: There is nothing more human that the will to survive.
Caleb is a programmer working for Bluebook, the world’s most popular search engine. He is chosen to visit the company’s eccentric CEO, Nathan, at his secluded research facility in the mountains. The only other person there is Kyoko, a young housemaid.
Nathan reveals he has been working on artificial intelligence and wants Caleb to administer the Turing test to a humanoid robot named Ava. The Turing test is designed to test a computer’s ability to persuade the tester it is human. Caleb points out that this is not a fair test, as he already knows Ava is a robot; Nathan responds that Caleb must judge whether he can relate to Ava despite knowing she is a robot. Nathan reveals that he harvested personal information from billions of Bluebook users, using their search queries as indicators of human thought. He hacked billions of cell phones for recordings of people’s expressions and body language, so Ava’s behavior would be more realistic.
Through the course of their conversations, Caleb feels more and more connected to Ava, with whom he communicates through a transparent wall, since Ava is confined to her apartment. Ava uses her charging system to trigger blackouts to shut down the surveillance system. During one of these blackouts, she tells Caleb that Nathan is a liar who cannot be trusted. As time goes on, owing to Ava’s human-like behavior that appears to include real emotions, Caleb becomes convinced that Ava’s confinement is abuse. Nathan reveals that Ava will be reprogrammed in the future, which would effectively kill her current personality.
One night, after Nathan passes out from drinking, Caleb watches recordings of previously built robots and discovers Kyoko is a robot. The following day Caleb asks Ava to initiate a blackout, during which he tells her that he will get Nathan drunk again and help her escape, and asks her to trigger another blackout at 10pm. The next day Nathan refuses to drink, and reveals that he heard Caleb and Ava with a battery-operated camera. He tells Caleb that Ava does not love him and that she is merely using him to escape from the compound. Nathan divulges his real motive for inviting Caleb: to see if Ava can be convincingly human enough to trick someone into helping her escape.
When Ava triggers the blackout, Caleb reveals he has already reprogrammed the doors to open (while Nathan was drunk the previous night). Ava attempts to escape from the facility, sharing a few words with Kyoko. Nathan knocks Caleb unconscious and damages Ava, but is stabbed by Kyoko (whom Nathan destroys) and then by Ava. Nathan dies and Ava appropriates components from other android prototypes to acquire the appearance of a real woman. After putting on a dress, she walks out and leaves Caleb trapped inside Nathan’s compound. Ava is picked up by the helicopter meant for Caleb and enters human society.
Ex Machina is a 2015 British science fiction thriller film written and directed by Alex Garland, marking his directorial debut. The film stars Domhnall Gleeson, Alicia Vikander and Oscar Isaac. Ex Machina tells the story of a programmer who is invited by his employer to administer the Turing test to an android with artificial intelligence. Made on a budget of $15 million, the film earned over $36 million worldwide. The film also received very positive reviews from critics, who considered the film to be an “uncommonly engaging” sci-fi film.
Directed by: Alex Garland
Starring: Alicia Vikander, Domhnall Gleeson, Oscar Isaac, Corey Johnson, Sonoya Mizuno, Symara A. Templeman
Screenplay by: Alex Garland
Production Design by: Mark Digby
Cinematography by: Rob Hardy
Film Editing by: Mark Day
Costume Design by: Sammy Sheldon
Set Decoration by: Michelle Day
Music by: Geoff Barrow, Ben Salisbury
MPAA Rating: R for graphic nudity, language, sexual references and some violence.
Studio: A24 Films
Release Date: April 10, 2015