Science fiction has often dreamed about the concept of aritifical intelligence. But in what is likely the smartest genre movie of the year, writer-director Alex Garland happily fears it. It’s not that he doesn’t have an apocalyptic view of sentient robotic beings; he just likes them better than us.
Thus enter Ex Machina a perfectly insidious con game that gets under the skin as viewers do not know if the characters are undergoing a Turing test…or if the audience is. Caleb (Domhnall Gleeson) is ostensibly invited to the country estate of his CEO (Oscar Isaac) to test the AI of a robot named Ava (Alicia Vikander). But he quickly discovers that he might be the actual guinea pig in this quietly hypnotic trip into madness.