Director: Luke Scott
Writer: Seth Owen
Starring: Kate Mara, Anya Taylor-Joy, Toby Jones, Rose Leslie, Boyd Holbrook, Michelle Yeoh, Jennifer Jason Leigh, and Paul Giamatti
Morgan is a thriller from 2016, directed by Luke Scott and written by Seth Owen, as well as produced by Ridley Scott. Kate Mara stars as Lee Weathers, a risk management specialist, who is sent to assess a facility for her company SynSect, after an incident where Morgan (Anya Taylor-Joy) attacked a doctor (Jennifer Jason Leigh). Morgan is an artificial being, that was raised as an experiment.
The first half of the film is essentially debating whether Morgan is alive or not, and what the consequence of the attack should be. There’s a long build up before you get to actually meet Morgan where Lee is being told things about her by the staff at the facility. These people have gotten to know Morgan as a person, and even the doctor she attacked doesn’t blame her for what happened.
We then get a brief introduction to Morgan, before the interview between her and Dr. Alan Shapiro (Paul Giamatti), who is there to evaluate her. The evaluation is the best part of the film, where you’re trying to form your own opinion on the character and her intentions. Anya Taylor-Joy is great in the film, you never know what’s going on in her mind, and the evaluation is where her and the film really shine.
This scene also marks the moment where the film switches, as Dr. Shapiro pushes Morgan too far and she snaps. From that moment onwards the film becomes a loud and dumb action film. Gone is any nuance and character building and it’s replaced with Morgan ruthlessly killing. It’s a strange tonal shift, that doesn’t really hit the mark. You just don’t care enough about the characters enough to care that they are dying, or what Morgan is doing.
When Dr. Shapiro starts to push her, knowing she’s capable of extreme violence, and doesn’t see it coming. You’re just left there watching as he acts like a complete idiot until things go wrong. Why wasn’t there someone else in the room? Why don’t they stop the evaluation sooner when Lee Weathers told them to?
Despite that, the film is still entertaining. Even if the second half is just pure action, it’s well shot and still keeps you engaged. It’s a silly and over the top, but it’s not boring. Overall, Morgan is not a great film, and it’s a shame that it didn’t keep with the more interesting first half.
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