A Turing-Tested Audience?
In the Catholic magazine Commonweal, Richard Alleva's review, "Robomance: Deception and Attraction in 'Ex Machina'" (May 28, 2015), hints that we - the audience - are the subjects of a Turing test, and that we are fooled by the robot Ava as fully as the protagonist Caleb is fooled, exactly as the robot-maker, Nathan, intended:
Ava passes the test all too well. Caleb becomes infatuated with her and joins her plot to free herself from Nathan's control. It turns out that this very rebellion was anticipated by Nathan and is part of his secret plan. But Caleb anticipates Nathan's anticipation. In Ex Machina one deception always operates within the framework of a larger deception. The final, all-encompassing trick is played on the audience's sympathies by writer-director Alex Garland. Right up to the conclusion, the fetching Ava seems to perform the role of maiden-in-distress, and Caleb, weedy nerd though he is, seems to be the knight who will rescue her from Nathan. But there's a catch. While Nathan may be an insensitive manipulator, he never lets go of one vital fact: Ava is a machine. By contrast, Caleb's gallantry blinds the audience to his monumental folly: he's become dazzled by sheer surface. So we are pulled up short in the final scenes by the recognition that we’ve been rooting for a self-deceiving fool.See? I told you that the movie is one big Turing test that most of us fail . . .