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Psychological thriller Ex Machina explores what it means to be human

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What if our first brush with artificial intelligence comes not in the form of killer robots or shadowy global computer networks bent on our destruction? What if AI comes in the form of a beautiful woman, who leaves us unsure of our own humanity?

Such is the premise of Ex Machina, directed by Alex Garland, the writer of such terrifying visions of our future as 28 Days Later, Sunshine and the dark reboot of the Judge Dredd franchise.

Ex Machina tells the story of programmer Caleb Smith (Domhnall Gleeson), who wins a competition to spend a week with his company's brilliant and sinister CEO Nathan Bateman (played by Oscar Isaac of A Most Violent Year and Inside Llewyn Davis). Upon arrival at Bateman's remote Alaskan estate, Caleb learns that he has been brought there for a specific reason: to see if Bateman's latest creation can pass for human.

Enter Ava, played by Swedish actress Alicia Vikander, an artificially intelligent robot who seems to be the woman of Caleb's dreams. She is beautiful, intelligent, and charming, but it soon becomes clear she is also dangerous, in an all-too-human way, a femme fatale whose intentions are as mysterious as those of her creator.

Anchored by the brilliant interplay of it's three amazing principals, Ex Machina is a thrilling science fiction horror film, a dark and complex examination of what it means to create, what it means to desire and what it means to be human.

Ex Machina is now playing, but this Thursday, April 16, Verge readers will have the chance to attend exclusive "Meet Ava" screenings across the country, at 8pm. RSVP here for free entry.

Want to see where AVA was created? Attend the screening to find out how you can enter to win a trip to the Juvet Landscape Hotel in Norway!

The full list of participating cities: New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, DC, Boston, Seattle, Austin, Dallas, Miami, Atlanta, Portland, Minneapolis, Detroit, Denver, Houston, Phoenix, San Diego, Philadelphia.

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