‘Morgan’ Film Review
The latest sci-fi thriller from 20th Century Fox features the directorial debut of Luke Scott — son of legendary Ridley Scott. Morgan has big shoes to fill, after all Luke’s first feature film tackles the genre his father helped define. So does a fresh, untested perspective and some clever casting elevate director Scott’s first outing?
Morgan is no showstopper, but should be praised for recognising its limitations. The sci-fi genre has been explored in almost every conceivable way; it’s near-impossible to breakthrough without a blockbuster budget or seasoned cast and crew. Instead of trying to be revolutionary, the film prides itself on: a solid foundation, recognisable leads and social commentary.
The movie does not take too many missteps, it has a clear story to tell and focuses on telling it. “Morgan” (played by Anya Taylor-Joy of The Witch) is essentially a test-tube baby, a “girl” created by scientists funded by a shady corporation. After a dangerous mishap involving “Morgan”, representative Lee Weathers from the corporation is sent to evaluate the experiment. The film never deviates far from the central characters, always smattering in clues for audience to catch.
You may mistake Luke Scott for a young man making his first movie, but the dude’s 48-years-old. He is very rationale in his execution and this is reflected in his casting choices. Kate Mara (Zoe Barnes, House of Cards) and Rose Leslie (Ygritte, Game of Thrones) round out the film’s leads. Mara does a great job as the aforementioned Weathers, a cold and calculated woman intent on doing her job. On the other hand… Leslie (who full disclosure I adore) had her talents wasted on a cheesy American accent.
The movie’s social commentary is apparent and welcomed, but never digs deeper. It scratches the surface of compassion v.s. greed and artificial intelligence v.s. humanity. The group raising “Morgan” considers her family, where as the corporation funding the project sees her as a product that may not be ready for market. Morgan also explores humanity’s insatiable need to innovate, never leaving well enough alone. What surprised me most, however, was the movie’s twist-ending. It was nothing overly-remarkable, but I will admit to being caught off guard (although the 16-year-old in front of me had it solved 30 minutes in).
If there’s one big gripe I have with Morgan, its the rising action — specifically the moment everything went from dandy to deadly. Without giving too much away, Morgan is scheduled for a psych evaluation. The following scene is ridiculously convoluted: a silly character making an unbelievable decision just to move the plot forward.
All in all, Morgan is a fine first effort from director Luke Scott. It never really wows, but it rarely disappoints either.
*The Shak Rating System:
5 - Film of the Century
4.5 - Acadamy Award-Worthy
4 - (One of) The Year’s Top Movies
3.5 - Worth Price of Admission
3 - See it on a Tuesday
2.5 – Let Someone Else Buy Your Ticket
2 - Maybe After a Few Drinks
1.5- Are You Sure You Have Nothing Better to Do Tonight?
1 - The Movie Equivalent of a Zombie Bite