WHILE THE FILM’S PREMISE HAS BEEN DONE TO DEATH, THIS SCI-FI THRILLER OFFERS PLENTY OF CHILLS AND TALENT!
By Nico Beland
Movie Review: *** out of 4
20TH CENTURY FOX
What is Morgan
Following in his father, Ridley Scott, and his late uncle, Tony Scott’s footsteps, newcomer, Luke Scott makes his film directorial debut with the sci-fi thriller, Morgan, with his father, Ridley Scott (Alien, Gladiator, The Martian) as producer. Concept wise, this is not a new idea, we’ve seen movies like this before, the 2010 sci-fi horror movie, Splice, and last year’s critically acclaimed thriller, Ex-Machina are about artificial intelligence (through gene splicing or robotics) that are locked away from society and they eventually get out, basically that’s the premise of Morgan in a nutshell.
The film does have a recycled premise but what does keep the movie going are its thrills and talented cast. It isn’t a great movie or anything, but it’s enjoyable for sci-fi and horror seeking movie watchers, not to mention it’s better than some of Ridley Scott’s other work like Kingdom of Heaven, Robin Hood, and Exodus: Gods and Kings.
The movie follows a young girl named Morgan (Anya Taylor-Joy-Endeavour, Atlantis, The Witch), who was created and raised in a laboratory by a group of scientists, and defies nature with super-human qualities (and no, just because the Fox label is on it DOES NOT mean this is an X-Men movie!). Unlike humans, Morgan has an amazing rapid aging progression, walking and talking in one month to being self-sufficient at age six.
So Morgan has exceeded the expectations of the scientists and they’ve created a miracle, right? Not exactly. One day she has a tantrum and violently attacks one of the scientists (Jennifer Jason Leigh-In The Cut, The Hateful Eight, Anomalisa) and it gets the attention of corporate troubleshooter, Lee Weathers (Kate Mara-We Are Marshall, Shooter, The Martian). Lee comes in to determine whether or not to terminate Morgan before she can cause more havoc or escape to the outside world.
Wouldn’t you know it, Morgan does in fact escape her box and cause terrifying activity on the scientists, eating, killing, and raping.
The film also stars Paul Giamatti (Sideways, Win Win, Straight Outta Compton) as Dr. Alan Shapiro, Chris Sullivan (The Drop, The Knick, Stranger Things) as Dr. Darren Finch, Michelle Yeoh (Tomorrow Never Dies, Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon, Reign of Assassins) as Dr. Lui Cheng, Rose Leslie (Downton Abbey, Game of Thrones, The Last Witch Hunter) as Amy Menser, Toby Jones (Doctor Who, Captain America: The First Avenger, The Hunger Games franchise) as Dr. Simon Ziegler, Boyd Holbrook (Out of the Furnace, A Walk Among the Tombstones, Gone Girl) as Skip Vronsky, Vinette Robinson (Vera Drake, Doctor Who, Sherlock) as Dr. Brenda Finch, Jonathan Aris (The World’s End, The Martian, Race) as David Chance, and Brian Cox (Bourne 1 and 2, X2: X-Men United, Zodiac) as Jim Bryce.
Overall, Morgan is a very ambitious film and a decent start for Luke Scott as a director, though the premise could have used more twists and turns. Not to say it’s a bad concept, but if you’ve seen the trailer or any other movie with this type of concept, you pretty much know exactly what’s going to happen.
If the movie threw the audience a few more curveballs, this possibly could have been as good as Ex-Machina. As is, the movie’s decent, but it could have been a lot better if they added in more surprises.
Not to say there’s nothing good in it, the cinematography is both creepy and beautiful at the same time, the brutal violence and kills are crazy, and the performances by Anya Taylor-Joy and Kate Mara are amazing. Anya’s performance as Morgan is incredible, the best part is they don’t make her entirely the villain of the movie, sometimes you feel for her and really when you get down to it, she’s a lost soul in this world that won’t accept her, but she does kill a lot of people so…yeah, there’s that.
I haven’t seen her in many movies, but I hope Anya Taylor-Joy gets more work as a young actress, she has a lot of potential and I would love to see her in more films. Like Anya, Kate Mara’s performance is also very solid, she’s the corporate troubleshooter who’s called in to terminate Morgan, but she does keep the audience guessing and may have some surprises of her own in the end, she nails the performance and she kicks a lot of ass.
If you just want a sci-fi thriller that’s not a flashy special effects show, you’ll probably get what you’re looking for with Morgan. She’s one force of nature you don’t want to mess with, but she makes a pretty damn creepy movie character.