(Directed by Alex Garland) (2015)
Caleb Smith (Domnhall Gleeson), a lowly programmer with a Google-like company, wins a week-long visit to the fabulous home of Nathan Bateman, the remote Bezos-Jobs-like founder of the company.
Bateman (Oscar Isaac) is a cool guy. He asks Caleb to spend time with Ava (Alicia Vikander) the humanoid robot built by Bateman. He wants Caleb to determine whether Ava is conscious and aware. Can she have a really, truly relationship with Caleb? Wow! What an opportunity! Not only is Ava a stunningly advanced type of AI, she’s pretty, except for the robot body bit. (But that’s ok, Bateman is quick to assure us, she has the most important asset of any female, and that’s not a predictive algorithm).
You, the viewer, are conscious and aware. You have seen many films. So let us ask. Is what follows likely to be:-
(A) A meditation on what it is to be human in the 21st century?
(B) A tense morality tale focusing on the ‘uncanny valley’? Or:
(C) Just what we fear from the moment we see Bateman’s silent housekeeper Kyoko (Sonora Mizuno) get her gear off?
Yes, C is the correct answer. That’s right, nothing eschatological to look at here. After Dr. Frankenstein and his witless David Wenham look-alike guest have waffled on a bit about whether robots can fake affection, it’s just a lot of naked female sex robots, fabulously submissive and quiet until they go all weird and hostile, as women do.
The twists are as shocking as a flat battery. Offensive. Limp. We’d give minus points if the AI would let us.
[Ed.: Asimov’s Fifth Law of Robotics: Don’t make films based on Svengalis and their sex toys.]