Prodigious advances in the field of artificial intelligence had made one wonder if Skynet (the antagonist from the Terminator series) could one day be a reality. This ever-present fear among techies, geeks and nerds was further compounded by an incident in Germany where a robot killed a factory worker. Even the Tesla / SpaceX Founder Elon Musk has his reservations when it comes to Larry Page's supposedly futuristic AI enhanced swarm of robots. Elon even goes further to add that we could be summoning the demon through artificial intelligence. Director Alex Garland in his sci-fi film – Ex Machina attempts to prove just that, Ie if robots can fool humans into thinking that they are real and not just a twisted piece of metal.
In this futuristic dystopian drama, Domhnall Gleeson plays the role of Caleb Smith (a programmer) while Alicia Vikander is Ava (an android robot). Sonoya Mizuno acts out as a robotic maid who fully resembles a woman. Oscar Isaac plays the character of Nathan Bateman, a Tech CEO. Other roles are played by Symara Templeman (Jasmine), Elina Alminas (Amber), Gana Bayarsaikhan (Jade), Tiffany Pisani (Katya) and Claire Selby takes on the role of Lily.
The plot of the movie centers around Caleb (played by Gleeson) who is a programmer for Bluebook, a giant internet search provider. He wins a company contest and is allowed to spend a week with Nathan (Oscar Isaac) at the tech-giant CEO's private mountain residence. Nathan persuades Caleb to perform a Turing Test on Ava (Alicia) to comprehend whenever the robot has any inherent quality to persuade a human into thinking that it is not a robot. In the process, Ava seemingly convinces Caleb about Nathan's diabolical plans of confining robots. Caleb agrees to free Ava from the promises by re-programming the doors so the escape is made easy. What follows is a spell-tingling thriller where the robots attack Nathan and only Ava manages a heroic escape leaving Caleb behind.
What instigated Garland to pen down the script was his childhood idea that computers have a mind of their own. He was inspired by many sci-fi movies in the likes of Altered States and 2001: A Space Odyssey. To create the life-like robot Ava, they filmed scenes with and without Alicia Vikander allowing the team to capture the background. All in all, they were about 800 VFX shots with 350 of them being robot shots.
The main attraction of the movie is unduly excluded is Alicia Vikander (a Swede by birth) who has taken Hollywood by storm with a cluster of movies in 2015. Aged 26, she admits that stunt scenes are almost like choreography and her training as a ballet dancer comes in handy. She quite vehemently declares that dancing is the best way to wake up in the mornings. She further elaborates the ritual as putting on some catchy music, getting into the shower and shaking her hips a bit.