Tuesday, 13 September 2016

'Morgan' Film Review

'Morgan' is son of Ridley Scott, Luke's, directorial debut, also in sci-fi. The plot follows a risk analyst Lee Weathers (Kate Mara) who is sent by a renowned corporate research company to investigate an incident regarding one of their projects, 'Morgan' (Anya Taylor Joy), who starts showing violent behaviour. 

Lee must make the decision of whether or not to terminate Morgan, whilst living amongst the researchers and staff who may have grown too attached.

Fans of the sci-fi genre will be quick to compare this to last year's sleeper hit 'Ex Machina', though in this case, the specimen is a hybrid humanoid with genetic enhancement rather than an A.I. But ideas about freedom, power, control and what it means to be human resonate in both films.

Unfortunately, these themes about humanity are lacking, as a shoddy 'scientific' explanation as to what Morgan actually is, leaves the audience confused as how to feel about it/her, lacking the clarity of Alex Garland's 'Ava', who is simply an advanced AI showing what appears to be real human emotion and desires. The depth and complexity of Morgan's psyche is therefore under-explored, though an attempt is made through flashback and video recordings. 

The supporting characters are well cast, though highly underused and underdeveloped, only Michelle Yeoh as the pioneering researcher whom Morgan deems as her mother, Rose Leslie as Morgan's friend/lover[?] and 'protagonist' Lee Weathers are truly significant. 'Ex Machina' succeeded with 4, 'Morgan' could have done the same.

The premise and setup created so much potential, but tension is never fully built up and quickly deflates with shortlived action/violence and then sedation. Unlike 'Ex Machina', which has an air of tension throughout, between its central characters, 'Morgan' relies on it's one and only twist, and it just isn't enough.

Plot wise, the whole affair was a red herring and a tense distraction, but I was suspicious five minutes in and spotted the clues, symbols and dialogue which confirmed my suspicions of the twist as the film progressed. Perhaps I watch too much sci-fi and twisty thrillers! However, not everyone will spot the clues and may be left quite surprised or disappointed with the reveal at the end.

Kate Mara- Lee Weathers
Anya Taylor Joy- Morgan
Michelle Yeoh- Dr. Lui Cheng

Also stars Rose Leslie, Michael Yare, Toby Jones, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Paul Giamatti and Brian Cox.

~~~OVERALL 7/10~~~
Whilst 'Morgan' featured a strong premise, tension is not maintained; characters are sidelined and undeveloped; and the single plot twist at the end insufficient redemption for the rest of the film. 

Similarity of themes means that 'Morgan' will inevitably be compared with 'Ex-Machina', nominated at the Academy Awards for best original screen play, and it seems many reviewers are measuring this film against that, and as a result, panning 'Morgan'. 

In Morgan's defense, it is enjoyable, features a great cast and is subtle, if perhaps too much so.

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