A Turing test is a series of questions between a person and a machine. If the persons realise they are talking to a machine, the test is failed. If they do not realise they are talking to a machine, then the test has been passed. Caleb (Domhnall Gleeson) has been selected to take part in such a test with Ava (Alicia Vikander), a new kind of robot. Isolated in the frozen north, with only his reclusive boss Nathan (Oscar Isaac) and the silent Kyoko (Sonoya Mizuno) as human company, the tests begin to take a disturbing turn, leaving Caleb unsure of who to trust.
Alex Garland makes his directoral debut with Ex Machina, after providing scripts for Dredd, 28 Days Later and Sunshine, among others. And what a debut it is. Refusing to shy away from questions about the nature of humanity, gleefully mixing the hard science fiction, thriller and even romance genres together, Ex Machina is a disturbing, excellent film with a cast that shines. Some chilling standouts are Caleb’s breakdown involving a mirror and a razorblade, and the big reveal about what Nathan has really been working on. Dark, disturbing, and smart, with a genuinely surprising and unflinching ending. Go watch it.
Donal O’ Connor