I put off watching EX MACHINA (2015) as I had it confused with AUTOMATA, another film about artificial intelligence and which I found pretty lackluster when I watched it as an advance screener. EX MACHINA is a great, simple film with numerous similarities to Shakespeare’s THE TEMPEST.
Caleb wins a technology company’s lottery to spend a week with the CEO at his remote home/laboratory complex. The only other occupants are Kyoko, a silent maid, and Ava, an android with artificial intelligence. The goal of the week is for Caleb to administer a Turing test to Ava to see if she’s indistinguishable from a human being.
Nathan, the CEO, makes a great “mad scientist,” seemingly far less feeling and empathetic than Ava reveals herself to be during her sessions with Caleb. Immediately, we sense that Nathan is orchestrating a larger game, while Ava knows if she doesn’t pass the test she will be deactivated. The resulting conflict is tense, engaging, and heavily spiced with smart dialogue about artificial intelligence, what separates biological humanity from the artificial kind, and the horrible consequences the singularity could have for our species.
So yeah, EX MACHINA is a great little science fiction movie, the kind of thoughtful movie of which I’d like to see more.