In a world where a company called Bluebook is the main search engine a not Google, a young computer programmer named Caleb Smith (Domhnall Gleeson) finds himself a little closer than he expected. It all started as a normal day but then quickly transformed into a more than average day, after winning a competition to spend a week with Bluebook’s CEO, Nathan Bateman (Oscar Issac), Caleb becomes the centre point in what is the creation of true artificial intelligence in a human form.
Living in complete isolation, Nathan has spent many drunken years on a project to create an advanced artificial intelligence which he has named Ava (Alica Vikander), however his project needs one last thing, hoping that Caleb might be able to successfully administer a Turing Test to determine if the A.I. has a personality and is self-aware to an equal or greater level of a human, Nathan hires Caleb as a consultant.
This is all played out in the fanatic writing by the previous writer for 28 Days, Alex Garland, who takes the notion of a film about an A.I. into a completely different direction.
Instead of simply creating a sci-fi film that automatically labels the protagonist as the A.I., Garland writes a story that is so thought-provoking that it always gets you to constantly wonder who is the bad guy and who is the good guy, whilst being so fanatically designed that the film keeps your attention through its duration, and makes the notion of a real-life A.I, a reality, all whilst still being tied into a sci-fi story line that is both arresting and haunting.
All this creates a story that looks into the actual soul and intelligence of an A.I. connecting the viewer with Eva and Caleb, and often having them look at the story much like Caleb is doing at the same time, questioning the motives of characters whilst remaining gripped to the possibility of an A.I., yet confused about the films going on.
That said one of the films’ most interesting characters is not Caleb but Nathan, played brilliantly by Oscar Issac, Nathan is a brilliant man who find himself exiled in a prison with his own invention, tasking with the creation of the possible future for humanity, Nathan find himself in both mental and physical changes that sometimes help the viewer to feel sorry for him.
Obviously Ex Machina’s main attraction is Ava, played by Alicia Vikander, Ava is the A.I. that neither looks human or robotic, but somewhere in between, Vikander portrays this brilliantly, gradually winning the viewer over and creating a range of emotions that leaves the viewer in wonder, uncertainty and fear, whilst challenging the question on whether or not an A.I. can truly be an A.I.
This all leads up to a conclusion that leaves the viewer in awe of Ava, whilst in fear of her. Confused about what just went on, whilst questioning their original ideas of the characters.
All in all this leaves the viewer thinking about who was the real bad guy, who was the real bad guy, and what might come from the future.
Will Artificial Intelligence become the norm, or will we end up with another Terminator conclusion? Those are just a few of the questions that you will be left with once the credits start rolling, make sure you check out Ex Machina now, you definitely won’t regret it.