Grounded sci-fi with wrongs that outweigh the rights.
“Isn’t it strange, to create something that hates you?”. For the later half of Morgan, you’ll ponder this question first posed in Ex Machina. Artificial intelligence is a concept used in plenty of films, such as The Terminator, Blade Runner and the appropriately titled AI: Artificial Intelligence. Morgan tries to make it’s own stamp on the genre but instead acts as a collage of rehashed moments.
Risk management consultant Lee Weathers (Kate Mara) is sent to a facility which researches synthetic lifeforms, following a violent attack involving their latest breakthrough, Morgan (Anya Taylor-Joy).
Starting off with brief footage of the afore mentioned incident, we’re soon introduced to Lee, and the rest of the team at the facility. A strong cast indeed, including Game of Thrones‘ Rose Leslie and Stranger Things‘ Chris Sullivan. Immediately they give off a family dynamic, which should of been good for emotional weight and chemistry between the actors, however at no point did I feel anything for these characters.
We aren’t given enough time to appreciate their presence or purpose, as we float through various bland conversations which merely act as a way of stalling the inevitable shit hitting the fan. Some characters are given more focus, such as Rose Leslie’s Amy, who is particularly close to Morgan, but the others are puppets.
Kate Mara, who is the supposed lead, falls behind the haunting, excellent Anya Taylor-Joy, in a performance that funnily enough is robotic and controlled. In the context of the story it’s not unwarranted, but some more emotion would have been appreciated.
As we approach the half-way line in Morgan, interest levels reach their peak. Director Luke Scott takes us into the nitty-gritty of the science behind Morgan. We learn about the facility’s past, the work they do with Morgan, and then, we witness a psychological evaluation in a stand-out scene starring Paul Giamatti.
Easily the the most memorable scene, it’s the catalyst behind the long awaited shift of tone. Giamatti’s character is cold, ruthless and I loved every second of it. From here, the mysterious, tension builder turns into a blur of forgettable action sequences, and a character transformation from innocent and eerie to Terminator-esque.
To sum it up…
Luke Scott’s directorial debut has moments of greatness, particularly Giamatti’s character. But he makes clumsy decisions with the narrative, and tries to thrill of us with a game of cat-and-mouse that albeit is expertly shot, feels distinctively bland.
Rating: Quite dire
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Author: Cameron Frew