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.