“Ex Machina” mostly revolves around the idea of the Turing test, which determines a machine’s ability to exhibit intelligent behavior indistinguishable from a person’s. The movie is a test of sorts too, a battle of wits between the cold, dark, and manipulative eye of technology and the wit and perseverance of man.
Caleb, played by Domnhall Gleeson, is a programmer who works for the BlueBook corporation (think Google on steroids). BlueBook’s CEO gives Caleb an assignment that requires him to move in with the CEO for a week, where he must work with the company’s new android, “Ava.” In effect Caleb and Ava are the subjects of a Turing test.
Ava, played by Alicia Vikander, encapsulates the genius and hubris of an android/human. Graceful (Ms. Vikander is a former ballerina), stunningly photographed (her robot body glimmers in the light like a mystical figure), she has a childlike wonder and innocence, eager to please Caleb. So when the question is asked about what happens to her if the test fails, the viewer shares some of Caleb’s anxiety.
“Ex Machina” is by far the best movie I have seen in a long time, a tale of well-crafted suspense reminiscent of an Isaac Asimov book. I cannot recommend it highly enough.
Josh Wilson is a senior at Evanston Township High School.