Directed by: Luke Scott | 88 minutes | horror, science fiction, thriller | Actors: Kate Mara, Anya Taylor-Joy, Rose Leslie, Michael Yare, Toby Jones, Chris Sullivan, Boyd Holbrook, Vinette Robinson, Michelle Yeoh, Brian Cox, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Paul Giamatti, Crispian Belfrage, Amybeth McNulty, Jonathan Aris, Charlotte Asprey
An absolute star cast cannot withstand the combination of an inexperienced filmmaker and a thin script. The concept of ‘Morgan’ was not original – it is reminiscent of a cross between ‘Ex Machina’ (2015) and ‘Species’ (1995) – but the elaboration is also extremely lazy. So why did the film get off the ground? Perhaps because it is the feature film debut of British director Luke Scott, son of groundbreaking science fiction director Ridley Scott, who also joined the project as producer.
Lee Weathers (Kate Mara) works as a risk management consultant for a large company specializing in the fourth wave of artificial intelligence. She is assigned to evaluate a project centered on Morgan (Anya Taylor-Joy), a hybrid biological organism who recently had a tantrum that ended bloody. Once on site, the scientists involved—who have long been cut off from the outside world—turn out to have formed a commune around their creation, and they’re not exactly eager to assist Weathers in her attempt to determine whether Morgan should end. become or not.
The contrast between the matter-of-fact, androgynous Mara and the tight-knit group of researchers emphasizes the antagonism between the characters, but it’s a tough sit when your main character is so flat. That she is nevertheless one of the more sympathetic characters, says a lot about the wrong choices that the rest make, or rather, about how the characters are written. For ‘Morgan’ Luke Scott adapted a screenplay by Seth Owen, a fairly inexperienced screenwriter who is now delivering his second film. The concept of human creators experimenting with a hybrid creation isn’t exactly virgin territory; there are so many movies that build on this foundation that it even has its own clichés. For example, it is common for the humanoid to rapidly become more intelligent and stronger than its human creators, she is held in an uninviting-looking concrete facility, and it is almost always (excluding Frankenstein’s monster) a woman – because female creatures look innocent and arouse empathy. , but always be treacherous? A psychoanalyst can make a study of that. The fact remains that there are film makers who know how to give this concept a fresh look, or who have intelligent new comments to add. Scott is unfortunately not one of these filmmakers.
The casting team did a good job on all fronts. The extraterrestrial Anya Taylor-Joy is a perfect choice for Morgan and already proved to have great acting talent in ‘The Witch’ (2015). The supporting roles are also filled by strong actors such as Michelle Yeoh, Toby Jones, Rose Leslie and Jennifer Jason Leigh. Unfortunately, they are wasted on characters who make one silly decision after another. It is plausible that isolation from the outside world can cause some alienation, but the naivety of the academics who created Morgan is beyond credibility. “Narcos” star Boyd Holbrook offers some relief as sarcastic cook Skip, but that’s short-lived in this crowded science fiction miss. After a predictable first act that already hints strongly at the end, and a scene between Morgan and her psychologist (Paul Giamatti) that completely misses the mark, the film unfolds exactly as expected.