Ex Machina is about a programmer, Caleb (Domhnall Gleeson), who is invited to spend a week with his brilliant billionaire employer, Nathan (Oscar Isaac), at his remote, high-tech estate. Caleb’s job while there is to evaluate Ava (Alicia Vikander), a beautiful and sensual robot of artificial intelligence, and determine whether or not she has the same consciousness as a human. (logline)
Had this movie simply been about the repercussions of creating artificial intelligence, it would easily fall into an overdone category of science fiction movies. However, this film was about so much more than that. At its heart is a story about the views of gender in our society. It takes the archetypes that men and women typically embody and completely shreds through them with finesse.
Much like Ava in the movie, the audience feels like a test rat trapped in a maze, searching for the way out. At every corner, cliche will temp you into believing you know where that turn will lead, but the movie is more masterfully designed than that by turning cliche upside down on its head. Even the house enhances this feeling by its maze-like construction for the characters to wander through.
Leading us through the maze are the amazingly talented cast members. Oscar Isaac portrays the perfect misogynist creator with a god complex so large, he has completely lost touch with reality. Perhaps the most interesting part of this is his insistence that he wants his house guest, Caleb, to act like they are just two guys having a beer while twisting Caleb’s words into a false admission that Nathan is, in fact, a god.
On the other end of the spectrum is Caleb, the gentle-hearted man who doesn’t hate women but desperately wants to rescue one. He leads us through the story, and we see the events unfold through his eyes as he learns the true nature of Nathan and determines a way to escape and to take Ava with him.
The two men battle it out, and similarly to them, we are easily led into overlooking what is happening with Ava. However, Ava is the true gem of this thrilling and mind-twisting film, and she will win you over in the end.
Even if you think you don’t like movies about robots and artificial intelligence, don’t let that stop you. This movie has something for everyone in it, and it will easily be one of the best movies to hit the theaters this year.