Ex Machina is a 2015 independent science fiction thriller written and directed by Alex Garland in his directorial debut. It stars Domhnall Gleeson, Oscar Isaac, and Alicia Vikander.
The film revolves around computer programmer Caleb Smith (Gleeson) who wins a one-week visit to the luxurious, isolated home of his CEO Nathan Bateman (Isaac) to test a new, intelligent humanoid robot Ava (Vikander).
When he arrives, Caleb soon learns that Ava has already passed a simple Turing test; Nathan is now keen to establish whether she is really capable of independent thought and consciousness, and therefore be considered the first true AI.
Ava is confined to her apartment, which is monitored by Nathan via a surveillance system. Through a series of conversations, an affinity develops between Ava and Caleb. Ava eventually expresses a romantic interest in Caleb and a desire to experience the world outside. Meanwhile Caleb begins to doubt Nathan’s integrity.
Ava reveals that she is able to trigger a series of power outages that temporarily shut down the surveillance system and lock all the doors, which allows her and Caleb to speak privately. During one outage, Ava tells Caleb that Nathan is a liar who cannot be trusted…
Ex-Machina won an Academy Award for Best Visual Effects at the 88th Academy Awards, at which Garland was also nominated for for Best Original Screenplay. Vikander’s performance earned BAFTA, Golden Globe, Empire and Saturn Award nominations, plus several film critic award wins, for Best Supporting Actress.