Tuesday, September 13, 2016

[Review] Morgan

In his directorial debut, Luke Scott (Ridley's son) crafts Morgan, an artificial intelligence based sci-fi flick that's an awful lot like last year's brilliant Ex Machina but with less complexity, style, and intrigue. It's like the film showed up late to the party wearing the same thing as someone else.

Lee (Kate Mara) is a high-profile troubleshooter tasked with investigating an "accident" that occurred within a top-secret lab that's housing a bioengineered child who goes by Morgan (Anya Taylor-Joy, great in The Witch). And by "accident" I mean Morgan snapped out and stabbed someone in the eyeball. After a full assessment, Lee will be faced with the decision to spare or terminate Morgan.

Early on, the film drops enough exposition on you to make your own brain malfunction. The tone is glacial, detached. and frankly boring. Fortunately, things get a boost when an ornery doctor played by Paul Giamatti enters to perform a psych evaluation, which allows Giamatti's intense acting chops to go face-to-face with the eerie and unhinged Morgan. It still can't help but feel like Ex Machina déjà vu, but at least we get to hear Giamatti repeatedly yell "SHOW ME HOW YOU FEEL!"

In addition to the Giamatti scene, Anya Taylor-Joy is virtually the only other player that keeps this film from being a throwaway. She injects a certain vulnerability and heart into Morgan, rendering the being as more dimensional and human than the actual humans (perhaps by design). Taylor-Joy is definitely a major talent. Boyd Holbrook (Gone Girl, "Narcos") is completely wasted. And "Game of Thrones" alum Rose "You know nothing Jon Snow" Leslie is as bland as can be in this.

The narrative fails to present any unique dilemmas or deliver any new ideas or payoffs. Instead, it warps into a blur of choppy action and experiment-gone-wrong tropes. That said, it isn't the worst thing in the world to watch Morgan go around and beat the living crap out of people.

( 6/10 )

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