A young coder named Caleb (Domhnall Gleeson) at the world’s largest internet company, wins a competition to spend a week at a private retreat belonging to Nathan (Oscar Isaac), the reclusive CEO of the company. Upon arrival he learns that he must participate in a bizarre experiment which involves interacting with the world’s first true artificial intelligence, which comes in the form of Ava, a beautiful female robot.
The machine at the center of this story is Ava, a name that is deliberately a play on Adam and Eve. Ava is a sleekly designed cybernetic creation, a body of circuits inside a crystalline shell with a beautiful woman’s face. The man who invented her, Nathan, is an eccentric tech genius who lives out in the middle of nowhere in a state-of-the-art estate. As the inventor of Blue Book, the world’s top search engine,
Nathan has everything he could ever want or need. He spends his days drinking, working out, fiddling with his inventions, and getting over hangovers. He’s also the man with a plan, which we see put into action when Caleb, a normal-everyday programmer at Blue Book, is chosen to fly to Nathan’s estate for a getaway. But this isn’t a social call. Nathan’s there to perform the “Turing Test” on Ava to see if her personality is truly indistinguishable from a human.
This is movie worth seeing, regardless of whether you are a fan of this genre or not. For fans of the genre, you will love the polish, sophistication and depth. This is an incredible film, and you will want to see it more than once. If you are not a fan of AI, there is still plenty here as the movie examines what may or may not be possible, and dips into many questions and considerations that you may want to discuss over coffee post-movie.
Director: Alex Garland
Year of Release: 2015
Character to watch: Domhnall Gleeson as Caleb.
Journal your answers to the following questions after you watch the movie.
- How does this particular character’s journey compare with yours?
- Did the character develop certain characteristics during the movie that you have or that you would like to have? If so, what are those characteristics?
- What obstacles did this character face? What was his or her biggest challenge?
- What would you have done differently if you had been in the same position as the character?
- Is this character the type of person you would be friends with? Why or why not?