Ex Machina delivers an excellent take on AI, a topic that’s been fodder for the year’s top science fiction movies. Beginning with Caleb (Domhnall Gleeson), a basic programmer, winning a trip to the artic enclave/research facilitiy of his company’s CEO (Oscar Isaac, bearing a striking resemblance to Marvel’s Tony Stark), a thrilling story unfolds. Upon reaching his remote destination, he discovers that he is the human component of the Turing Test on the world’s first AI: he’s there to determine if she is consciousness manifest. As the story progresses, his relationship with Ava (Alicia Vikander) becomes more nuanced and touches upon themes like attraction and compassion. However, there is more to play than just testing AI. While some of the developments are predictable, overall, the movie is thrilling at every turn. Suspense is high the whole time and the climax is satisfying. The world building is excellent, despite the story being self contained. The viewer truly believes the power harnassed by exploiting our everyday technological conveniences. Humor is present throughout the film, which helps mellow the tone. It is accompanied by beautiful cinematography and visual effects, as well as great performances by the cast. At the end of the movie, we’re left to ponder such themes as the nature of morality, intelligence, relationships, and compassion. Overall, the film is not only a superb science fiction thriller, it is more thought provoking than the year’s other cinematic portrayals of artificial intelligence. PS Once you see the film, you can place Ava on a spectrum of Chappie to Ultron.