MORGAN – Review by Susan Granger

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It’s interesting that Luke Scott decided to make his directorial debut with this sci-fi thriller – since his father, Ridley Scott, made one of the first movies about Artificial Intelligence – “Blade Runner” (1982) – about a cop who hunts humanoid replicants. In many ways, “Morgan” resembles “Blade Runner.” Instead of a teeming metropolis, however, it’s set in a top-secret, remote facility, a decrepit mansion located deep in the woods, where a risk-management consultant, Lee Weathers (Rooney Mara), is sent to investigate and evaluate a scientific experiment that seems to have gone awry. Read on…

Classified as an L-9 prototype, Morgan is a bio-engineered organism, made from synthetic DNA. Although, chronologically, just five years old, Morgan (Anya Taylor-Joy) looks like a pale, precocious teenager with dark, piercing eyes.

Wearing a gray hoodie, pants and sneakers, she appears to be androgynous with a sulky, childlike innocence that belies her remarkable physical and intellectual abilities.

Morgan has been painstakingly raised by a devoted team of scientists, led by Dr. Lui Chang (Michelle Yeoh), along with Dr. Simon Ziegler (Toby Jones), psychoanalyst Amy (Rose Leslie) and their hunky nutritionist/chef (Boyd Holbrook).

Just recently, however, Morgan inexplicably turned in rage on her behavioral psychiatrist Kathy Grieff (Jennifer Jason-Leigh), brutally stabbing her in the eye.

Corporate troubleshooter Lee Weathers and a consulting psychiatrist, Dr. Alan Shapiro (Paul Giamatti), have been dispatched to sort things out and determine whether Morgan should be terminated. Significantly, Weathers packs a gun.

Working from an all-too-thin script by Seth Owens, Luke Scott is unable to prolong the initial sense of unease and eerie intrigue, stumbling into a tonal shift midway through, which all-too-soon descends into bloody stalk ‘n’ slash carnage.

And, unfortunately, a grim plot twist, which should have come as a total surprise, didn’t.

On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, “Morgan” is a synthetic 6. “Ex Machina” (2015) did it so much better.

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Susan Granger

Susan Granger is a product of Hollywood. Her natural father, S. Sylvan Simon, was a director and producer at R.K.O., M.G.M. and Columbia Pictures; her adoptive father, Armand Deutsch, produced movies at M.G.M. As a child, Susan appeared in movies with Abbott & Costello, Red Skelton, Lucille Ball, Margaret O'Brien and Lassie. She attended Mills College in California, studying journalism with Pierre Salinger, and graduated from the University of Pennsylvania, Phi Beta Kappa, with highest honors in journalism. During her adult life, Susan has been on radio and television as an anchorwoman and movie/drama critic. Her newspaper reviews have been syndicated around the world, and she has appeared on American Movie Classics cable television. In addition, her celebrity interviews and articles have been published in REDBOOK, PLAYBOY, FAMILY CIRCLE, COSMOPOLITAN, WORKING WOMAN and THE NEW YORK TIMES, as well as in PARIS MATCH, ELLE, HELLO, CARIBBEAN WORLD, ISLAND LIFE, MACO DESTINATIONS, NEWS LIMITED NEWSPAPERS (Australia), UK DAILY MAIL, UK SUNDAY MIRROR, DS (France), LA REPUBBLICA (Italy), BUNTE (Germany), VIP TRAVELLER (Krisworld) and many other international publications through SSG Syndicate. Susan also lectures on the "Magic and Mythology of Hollywood" and "Don't Take It Personally: Conquering Criticism and other Survival Skills," originally published on tape by Dove Audio.