Ex Machina (2014) was written and directed by Alex Garland, who also wrote The Beach, 28 Days Later, and Sunshine, among other films. It stars Domhnall Gleeson, Alicia Vikander, and Oscar Isaac. And was a surprise hit with both critics and fans while being celebrated as one of the more cerebral sci-fi outings of recent years.


The film follows a programmer who is invited by his CEO to administer the Turing test to an intelligent humanoid robot. It is a sobering meditation on what the advent of truly intelligent machines would mean to Humans, whose central character, the mechanical Ava, was a cold, calculating take on the classic femme fatale archetype.

Ex Machina is a true gem, but not so much because it’s an original piece of science fiction — the genre is filled with Turing tests and seductive androids and A.I that run amok — but because it focused more on an intensely emotional game of chess between three players.