Morgan Movie Review
A creepier, more action-packed version of Ex Machina—though not nearly as good—Morgan is an entertaining, late summer thriller that wears its wannabe smarts on its sleeves, for better or for worse.
Kata Mara stars as the mysterious corporate consultant Lee Weathers, who arrives at a laboratory in the woods to investigate a recent incident involving the lab’s genetically engineered subject Morgan, a knife and the left eye of one of the scientists. Her mission: determine whether Morgan is emotionally stable enough to be redeemed, or whether it’s best to terminate “it.”
Oh, and as you can imagine, Morgan doesn’t want to be terminated.
The 90-minute film relies heavily on the slick direction by Luke Scott, who establishes a moody atmosphere that glosses over many of the film’s weaknesses. Unsettling and mysterious is the mood Scott shoots for and largely obtains, even though the story itself is pretty straightforward—you know Morgan is going to do bad things; it’s just a matter of when.
Through and through, Morgan is entertaining; I was engaged the whole time, drawn in by the seductive nature of the film.
Sadly, the movie is marred by a so-so screenplay that never allows Morgan to do anything other than the predictable. I didn’t guess the twist that those around me figured out in the film’s first few minutes, but the story and events that occur are so basic the twist really doesn’t matter. The characters, while not bad, aren’t great; it’s hard to feel for any of them, including the purposefully cold Weathers. Mara plays her fine, but a memorable character Weathers is not. Paul Giamatti gets to chew some scenery for a few minutes, but his character is so off the rails it’s hard to take him seriously (and even harder not to see how things are going to end for him). Anya Taylor-Joy (The Witch) is fine as the title character, though the screenplay keeps her actions one-note and predictable. Michelle Yeoh is largely wasted, as are some other cast members.
Despite its shortcomings, Morgan is an entertaining, temporarily mesmerizing little film. Had it strived for something a bit more ambitious than its somewhat cheap climax and twist, Morgan could have been something greater, but as is, it’s a fun thriller that deserves a look.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.