The film opens with a computer coder named Caleb (Domhnall Gleeson). Caleb has just won the chance to spend a week at the house in the mountains belonging to Nathan (Oscar Isaac). Nathan is a reclusive genius and CEO of a company called BlueBook. BlueBook happens to also be the company that Caleb works for.
On the first day, Caleb is airlifted into the middle of a reserve. The reserve is owned by Nathan. Caleb is dropped off at the reserve and is left to make his way on foot through the reserve to Nathan’s house. Once Caleb arrives at the house, he is greeted by an automated system. The system issues him a key card, which allows him to enter the property. With no one in sight, Caleb wanders around the house confused. He eventually finds the gym, where he finds Nathan working out.
Nathan greets him and proceeds to show Caleb around the house. Nathan tells Caleb that the key card that was issued to him by the automated system will only open certain doors in the house, calling it the “facility". Nathan then has Caleb sign a Non-Disclosure Agreement, which says that Caleb is not to reveal anything that he sees in the facility. Nathan claims that he wants Caleb to treat him as a friend, but their relationship is shown to be very awkward and tense.
Later on that day, Nathan decides to introduce Caleb to what he’s been working on. Nathan takes Caleb to his "experiment" and says that he wants Caleb to spend the next week performing a live 'Turing Test'. A Turing test is a test of a machine’s ability to exhibit intelligent behavior equivalent to, or indistinguishable from, that of a human. The “experiment” is a fully humanoid artificial intelligence named Ava (Alicia Vikander). Ava has a face, hands and feet that are made up of human flesh, but the rest of her body is clearly that of a cyborg (a robot or android).
Later that night, Caleb discovers that the TV that is in his room is actually a CCTV network. The network allows him the ability to watch Ava in her “habitat”. All of a sudden, there is a blackout. Caleb goes to find Nathan. When he eventually does find him, Nathan is drunk and in a very bad mood. Nathan explains that the power outages happen on a regular basis, but that he is looking into it.
The next morning, Caleb is awoken by Kyoko (Sonoya Mizuno). Kyoko is a Japanese girl who does not speak or engage with him in any way. Caleb later discovers that Kyoko does not speak English because then Nathan can talk about private matters and not be concerned about Kyoko hearing him and then leaking any information.
Caleb meets with Ava again, however, this time she starts to flirt with him. Suddenly, there is another power cut. While the power is out, Ava warns Caleb not to trust Nathan. It is soon revealed that Ava is the one who has been triggering the power outages. That night, as Caleb eats dinner with Nathan, Kyoko spills wine on him. This makes Nathan burst into a fit of rage.
Over the next few days, Caleb and Ava spend more time together. After a while, the two form a strong bond. One day, Ava decides to dress herself in clothes to appear more human to Caleb. When Caleb sees her, he is confused, but is also excited by it. He eventually goes to Nathan and asks him if what has been going on with Ava flirting with him is some kind of trick. He asks Nathan if Ava has been programmed to flirt with him. Nathan becomes very angry and begins shouting at Caleb. He takes Caleb to his lab where Ava was created. Nathan explains to Caleb how Ava’s mind operates. Nathan tells him that he has been using his own software to map the faces, voices and habits of the world population to build a fully self-evolving brain.
Later that night, Nathan gets extremely drunk and Caleb takes him to his room. In Nathan’s room, he sees some cupboards and is able to catch a glimpse of Nathan's “observation” room. Later on during the evening, while he is shaving, Caleb sees CCTV footage of Nathan going into Ava's room. While in her room, Nathan starts ripping up a drawing she had been creating. This act makes Caleb all the more anxious of Nathan.
Later, Caleb confronts Nathan and asks him what he will do with Ava if she fails the test. Nathan explains that she will be "updated", which will result in her memory being wiped clean and not being able to remember anything. This is visibly upsetting for Caleb, as he has grown extremely close to Ava. Some time later, Nathan gets very drunk and eventually passes out. Caleb steals Nathan's key card and enters into the “observation” room. Inside the room, he finds footage on Nathan's computer which shows that Nathan has been building various different female AIs over a given period of time. Caleb goes into Nathan's room and finds Kyoko lying naked on the bed. He opens the cupboards in Nathan's room and finds all the destroyed and deactivated robots hanging up inside. Kyoko pulls the skin from her face to reveal that she is also an AI. Caleb leaves the room just in time to find Nathan stumbling around drunk. He drops Nathan's key card on the floor and pretends that Nathan had just dropped it.
In Caleb’s final meeting with Ava, he reveals to her a plan to help her escape from Nathan. Caleb intends on getting Nathan drunk one last time and then locking him in his room. To make this possible, Caleb asks one thing of Ava: to trigger a power outage at 10PM tomorrow night.
The next morning, Caleb and Nathan have a polite conversation and Nathan tells Caleb that a helicopter will arrive the next morning to him up. Caleb offers a drink to Nathan in a celebratory toast, but Nathan refuses and tells Caleb that when he entered Ava's room to destroy the picture, he also secretly hid a battery-operated camera in there. So he knows what Caleb is planning. Nathan admits that Ava has being geared towards Caleb's desires. He based Ava’s personality on information taken from his internet searches, etc. Nathan tries to tell Caleb that Ava is not in love with him. He explains that Ava is using him. Nathan tells Caleb that he considers this as confirmation that she is a true AI, which deems the “test” a success.
All of a sudden, there is a power outage, and Caleb tells Nathan that he has already put his plan into action. He did it when he stole Nathan's key card. He explains that when the house goes into lockdown mode, the system has been re-routed to open every door in the house. Enraged, Nathan knocks Caleb out and leaves to go kill Ava.
Ava and Kyoko are talking secretly. When Nathan finds them, Ava attacks Nathan. Nathan fights back by destroying Ava's hand. Nathan begins dragging Ava back to her room, but Kyoko comes up behind him and stabs Nathan in the back with a sushi knife. Nathan breaks Kyoko's face apart, but is stabbed once more by Ava. Nathan dies in a pool of his own blood. Ava takes his key card from him. Ava comes back and locks Caleb in Nathan's room. She proceeds to raid the cupboards containing all of the old and destroyed AIs. She takes skin and clothes to pass herself off as human. She leaves Caleb locked in the “facility” and makes her way out of the house. She goes out to where the helicopter is to pick up Caleb. It arrives and she is airlifted out of the area. In the final shot, she is seen be flown out into human society.
*CUT TO THE CHASE*
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Caleb (Domhnall Gleeson) is selected to spend a week out at the secluded house of reclusive genius and tech CEO, Nathan (Oscar Issac). After arriving by helicopter, Nathan reveals to Caleb that he was selected because he is to take part in an experiment. The experiment is a Turing test on a humanoid artificial intelligence (AI) named Ava (Alicia Vikander). Other than the human skin on her face, hands and feet, she has the body of a robot.
Over the next few days, Ava and Caleb develop a strong bond, which results in Caleb deciding to help Ava escape from Nathan. On the night of the escape, Nathan figures out Caleb’s plan and tells him that she is using him, as he programmed her that way, deeming the experiment a success. When Caleb reveals that his plan is already in motion, Nathan knocks him out and decides to kill Ava. However, Ava kills Nathan first and locks Caleb in a room. She covers herself up with skin from Nathan’s other AIs (who have since been deactivated) and puts on some clothes. She goes out to where the helicopter is to pick up Caleb and is airlifted out into human society.
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