Domhnall Gleeson, Oscar Isaac and Alicia Vikander star in Ex Machina,
a sci-fi/psy-fi thriller that offers a chilling look into the not-too-distant
future of artificial intelligence. Filled with plenty of twists, the film
marks the directorial debut of Alex Garland, who wrote the script and
has also penned acclaimed sci-fi fare like 28 Days Later and Sunshine.
Caleb (Gleeson), a 26-year-old coder at an internet-search giant, wins a
competition to spend a week at the private mountain retreat belonging to
Nathan (Isaac), CEO of the company. Nathan is not only reclusive, but
also rich, with property that goes on forever. On the way, the helicopter
pilot tells Caleb, “We’ve been flying over his estate for the past two hours.”
Upon arrival, Caleb finds out that Nathan wants him to participate in an
experiment – testing an artificial intelligence, housed in the body of a
beautiful girl named Ava (Vikander). As Caleb finds himself falling for
Ava, a dark psychological battle ensues, where loyalties are torn between
man and machine. What does Ava really want? And what is Nathan up to?
With a silver-clad scalp and mesh-wrapped waist, Ava is a breathtaking
vision who walks like a dancer (perhaps enhanced by Vikander’s training
as a ballerina). Nathan’s retreat is built into rock, yet slick and shiny with
glass walls that peer out onto a landscape of streams, peaks and greenery.