Alex Garland, of 28 Days Later and Dredd, wrote and directed the psychological sci-fi thriller. The film is a blend of thought provoking cultural importance and visual storytelling. The main characters are Caleb, a sympathetic hard worker, who has won the lottery to meet his boss Nathan, who Caleb describes as a Mozart of programming. The last of the major players is Ava, an AI created by Nathan that Caleb is to give a Turing test. A test to see if Ava truly has consciousness.
The cast does a phenomenal job. Domnhall Gleeson, who actually played an AI himself in Black Mirror, is believably tepid and Oscar Isaac is brutally intimidating, both physically and mentally, as Nathan. This is the first major role for Alicia Vikander, who plays Ava, who creates a strong dissonance between the humans.
The film is heady. All the major players are hyperintelligent. In a moment in the film Nathan and Caleb are sitting under a hut on Nathan's beautiful estate. The colors are constantly blue and green outside and inside, when the power cuts out especially, the walls are red. This is an ode to RGB color. Nathan and Caleb are sitting under the awning and Caleb says "I am become death, the destroyer of worlds." Nathan says Caleb is quotable. Caleb responds that it's a quote by Oppenheimer the inventor of the atomic bomb. Nathan says he nows.
Ex Machina is masterfully rendered futuristic space with a plot that is created by characters working off each other in unfamiliar spaces. The film is powerful and wants it starts moving it can't be stopped.