Morgan

Year: 2016
Director: Luke Scott
Starring: Kate Mara, Anya Taylor-Joy, Toby Jones
Written by Tom Sheffield

With Ridley Scott’s company producing, and his son Luke Scott directing, I had hoped that ‘Morgan’ would be another under-marketed film ready to surprise me when I watch it. It’s fair to say I was surprised, but the surprise was that I was actually able to sit through the whole thing and not walk out after the halfway point. It’s very hard to fully express my disappointment without actually spoiling the plot, but rest assured there will be no spoilers in my review.

Lee Weathers (Kate Mara) is a “Corporate Risk Assessment Specialist” who is sent to a remote lab on behalf of her employer, after a serious incident with lab created human-hybrid Morgan (Anya Taylor-Joy) – named after the project she’s been created for – brutally attacks one of their scientists as she struggles to control and contain her emotions. Lee soon realises that the scientists at the remote lab have grown attached to Morgan and see her as more than just a science experiment – they see her as if she was their own child. After a psychology analysis interview goes wrong, Morgan has one “tantrum” too many and Lee decides it’s time for action to be taken, action that the scientists strongly oppose.

First things first, I was really disappointed in the direction the story took, it felt like the writers started off full of enthusiasm and ideas and then halfway through they kind of lost their steam and went with the first thing they could think of. The script is pretty dull and the dialogue between characters is very simple and irksome. I found myself struggling to pay attention to the film, and was forcing myself to stay focused in order to write this review. The premise of the film was so promising, and given the right script and an experienced director, I think the film could have truly been something great, maybe even as great as ‘Ex Machina’, that I had seen lots of people compare it to.

Morgan is classed as a sci-fi/horror, but I found it more of a comedy by the end, and actually found myself laughing out loud at how bad the second half of the film was, and it was apparent I wasn’t alone in thinking this after hearing a few loud sighs and mutterings from the other six or seven people in the screening. There definitely isn’t any part of the film that makes this a “horror”, other than some of its shocking continuity errors; one big one being a scene taking place outside in the dark, a quick shot of someone in the house, and then the following shot back outside to the same character doing the same thing we last saw them doing but it’s now broad daylight, and it’s extremely obvious that in actuality, hardly any time has passed.

Despite my gripes with the film, I have to commend Anya Taylor-Joy on another brilliant performance. Her acting in ‘The Witch’ was outstanding and is one of the many reasons that that film is one of my favourite films of the year thus far. Her portrayal of Morgan was a great way to showcase her undeniable talent and she delivered her lines and displayed Morgan’s complex personality brilliantly. I was really surprised how underused the big names in the film were though. Kate Mara, Toby Jones, Rose Leslie and Michelle Yeoh’s characters were all way below their true capabilities and it’s painstakingly clear throughout the film that if it had been written better, the actors could have made the film a true thriller given half a chance.

In my personal opinion, I definitely wouldn’t recommend paying the price of a cinema ticket for this film. It’s probably something you might watch if you pick it up out of the bargain basket a few months after it’s release. I couldn’t help but feel the film could have ended after an hour, and would have got a higher rating from me. The ending is easily predictable, if you actually find yourself paying attention to what’s been said and what’s happening, and that, in my opinion, makes it that much more disappointing. A slow, lusterless and very underwhelming flick.

Tom’s rating: 3.2 out of 10
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