Director: Luke Scott
Cast: Kate Mara, Anya Taylor-Joy, Rose Leslie, Toby Jones, Michelle Yeoh, Boyd Holbrook
Plot: When Morgan, an artificially created human, attacks one of the doctors in charge of her development, the corporation funding the project sends a risk consultant to assess whether she needs to be terminated or otherwise.
Review: Morgan is the feature length debut of Luke Scott, son of Ridley. While Morgan is nowhere near as ambitious as his father's work, it certainly is quite interesting.
The premise is as follows: Lee Weathers, a risk consultant, is sent by her bosses to a top secret project site, where a team of doctors are watching over Morgan, an artificially created human girl. Morgan may only be five years old, but she has grown rapidly to resemble a teenager. Recently, Morgan attacked one of the doctors, stabbing her in the eye, so Lee must now assess if Morgan will continue to be a liability, and if so, terminate her. But as the story progresses, one realises that things aren't as simple as it seems.
As I began watching this film, it felt similar to watching Deep Blue Sea, Renny Harlin's underrated shark thriller, and in this case, Morgan was the shark. But when Morgan inevitably breaks free, the film switches to action mode, and now it looks like a Jason Bourne movie. Not that any of this is the real problem though. While Scott and writer Seth Owen take their time to explore Morgan's character, they don't spend enough time exploring the other doctors, save for Rose Leslie's Amy, who becomes Morgan's closest friend. All they tell us is that the others care for Morgan and don't believe she should be terminated over one violent incident, heck even the injured doctor played by Jennifer Jason Leigh thinks so. Because of the paper thin characterisation, we don't feel much when Morgan starts taking them out one by one.
Another downside is the camerawork during the fight scenes. Like most poor action directors, Scott puts the camera too close, so it's hard to see who's punching who. Pity, since it's rare to see Kate Mara do kung fu on film. But on the upside, Scott successfully milks tension whenever Morgan is alone with any of the doctors. Even in one scene without Morgan, where the doctors dine with Lee at a table, the tension is palpable. It makes for a good buildup to the point when hell breaks loose as Morgan turns on them.
As for Kate Mara, she gives Lee Weathers a cold exterior, making it tough for us to root for her. But it's only at the end you realise why. Anya Taylor-Joy scores the most points here as Morgan, giving the character the right balance of child like innocence and chilling demeanor. (Brownie points to the make-up department for giving Morgan pale skin and dark eyes to complete the look) Out of the supporting cast, Rose Leslie and Boyd Holbrook fare the best as Amy and Skip the cook respectively. Paul Giamatti does well in a brief appearance as a shrink, and look out for an even more brief appearance by Brian Cox at the end.
Just as I thought the film would only be slightly above average, a neat twist at the end elevates it a bit. It's rather late, and not quite enough to make Morgan a sure fire hit, but at least it will leave a small impression on you as you walk out of the theatre.
So is Morgan a good movie? Thanks to that ending, yes. Is it a great movie? Not quite. But it's a more than decent way to spend 92 minutes. (7/10)