Wednesday, 29 November 2017

Morgan (2016)

There's an incident at an isolated lab involving a young girl attacking a woman. That is how Morgan opens. Kate Mara is sent in to appraise and deal with the situation, and within another scene or two the viewers are told that the young girl isn't a young girl. She is a creation. An it. A corporate asset. It's just up to Mara to decide whether it is still a valuable asset or a mistake that should be erased.

Morgan is the feature directorial debut from Luke Scott, the son of a slightly well-known British director named Ridley. It's also the biggest project so far for writer Seth W. Owen. Unfortunately, nothing here gives an indication of a bright future for either one of them. This film is a mess, and often a dull mess (which is hard to get just right). It's almost as if it doesn't know what it wants to do, spending a lot of the first half examining identity and humanity before setting up a third act that brings in some action, a lot of implausible character behaviour, and a couple of twists that are remarkably unsurprising.

Things aren't too bad if we're looking at the whole thing on a purely technical level. The visuals, though drab, are decent and a couple of set-pieces work well enough to make you wish that there were some more scattered throughout.

The major flaws stem from the script, which wouldn't be too bad if it didn't also lead to a complete waste of some great talent. Jennifer Jason Leigh is in this movie, but you might not notice her as she delivers about three lines of dialogue. Michelle Yeoh gets a bit more screentime, but not enough to warrant her presence. Paul Giamatti manages to steal the show with one of the best scenes in the film, Toby Jones is sorely underused, Mara looks stern throughout, and Rose Leslie suffers through the whole thing as a character written without any obvious braincells in working order. She tries her best but the script gives her nothing but one dumb moment after another.

There are other people involved, but they just don't make enough of an impression, despite trying hard (Michael Yare probably does the best out of the supporting roster), or they are just on hand to provide a very brief cameo (Brian Cox).

So you get attempts to explore ideas that end up leading nowhere, some flashes of decent violent action, a lot of wasted cast members and unmemorable characters, and an ending that is supposed to make up for the preceding 90 minutes of tedium (although, trust me, it doesn't). Not recommended. At all.


Morgan is available to buy here.
And if you're in the USofA you can buy it here.

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