Ex Machina

A computer programmer (Domhnall Gleeson), summoned to the secluded home of his millionaire boss (Oscar Isaac), agrees to participate in a weeklong project testing the artificial-intelligence program the boss has installed in a sexy cyborg (Alicia Vikander). However, the programmer is less an examiner than an instrument: if he develops feelings for the robot, then it will have succeeded in simulating an independent consciousness. This familiar man-versus-machine parable marks the directing debut of Alex Garland—screenwriter of such intelligent horror and SF features as 28 Days Later . . . (2002), Sunshine (2007), and Never Let Me Go (2010)—though its aura of cool menace is largely attributable to Isaac, stealing his every scene as the smoothly bullying CEO, and production designer Mark Digby, who created the millionaire’s sleek, high-tech mountain fortress.