Bringing you honest reviews of recent releases
Kate Mara – Lee Weathers
Anya Taylor-Joy – Morgan
Rose Leslie – Dr. Amy Menser
Toby Jones – Dr. Simon Ziegler
Paul Giamatti – Dr. Alan Shapiro
Boyd Holbrook – Skip Vronsky
Michelle Yeoh – Dr. Lui Cheng
Morgan isn’t a bad little movie. But equally, it’s not very exciting either. This watchable feature is made up of a good cast, good story, and boasts pretty filming locations (the story takes place on a remote island with many pine trees and a sparkly lake – rather idyllic), so it’s not a terrible film. If you like your sci-fi and A.I. I’ve no doubt you’ll be entertained thoroughly. Mainly because the ‘thing’ is fantastic..
Focusing heavily on Morgan herself, the story involves a good dose of strange behaviour and intense moments between A.I. and human.
I have to say hats off to Anya Taylor-Joy; the young woman plays an A.I. superbly. Her taut facial expressions convey believable emotion, she’s very convincing. It’s a case of less is more here as the actress steals every scene she’s in – and not just because she plays the titular role. But because the actress nails it with a fantastic performance. A scene between Taylor-Joy and Giamatti had me hooked, staring at the screen waiting for something to happen. As the pair sit at a table behind a glass screen with Dr. Shapiro harshly demanding answers to questions he asks, Morgan becomes increasingly frustrated. This builds and builds (the actress puts her talent to great use here – you can see it in her face) until one of them explodes in a violent fit of rage, with horrific consequences.
This scene heightened the dynamics of the movie perfectly, before the atmosphere lowered again. Top marks for that.
Equally as talented but not as interesting to watch as Taylor-Joy, is Mara. The woman upholds a steely personality throughout Morgan. Her character is bland in appearance and almost emotionless which is explained later on in the movie, and also makes for good viewing. A lot of wide-eyed stares and direct confrontations delivered by her. What a bitch. I loved it.
And Paul Giamatti and Toby Jones. Jesus, they’ve been in the movies so long they’re practically stone pillars holding up the sets. Yes, like gargoyles of Hollywood (set like stone and just as pudgy-faced) they are part of the cast and seem to deliver the goods. It’s just a bit ‘same old, same old’ seeing the pair shuffle down a hallway together. I reckon two different and more vibrant actors could have spiced up the story, instead of these two old buggers. But hey, you can’t have it all. And on a positive, Giamatti offers some good tension where needed.
Morgan is a movie which contains a lot of scientific dialogue, the set is made up of a lot of various gadgets too. This makes it quite slick, and interesting in a technological sense. It’s based around experiments and the main test subject being given different tasks, etc. all taking place behind a glass screen, so the movie is pretty different to most current features out there.
However, that said..
I was bored for about 60% of Morgan. The main cause of this boredom was the fact most of the characters seemed to wander around endlessly, either visiting the bioengineered child they now own or strolling through the woodland surrounding their compound. I think this whole enclosed setting didn’t help matters, as 100% of this movie takes place on the scientists base. There is no action set anywhere else.
Alongside this is the dull dialogue between Lee and various people she meets. The scenes become stale, with long pauses and often silent moments so void of sound that I swear I heard someone fart up in the back rows – and that’s a lot of space between me down in the front and them up there.
As with most experiment-gone-wrong movies, the scientists are naive to the core. Their university educated, award-winning intelligence seems to go straight out the window when one of them is confronted with danger. Walking towards Morgan slowly with hands raised calling out, “stop” (knowing full well the thing could kill him / her in seconds) is a speciality of stupidness the scientists excel at. It’s cringeworthy stuff.
Dr. Menser (Leslie) has to be the most irritating character of all of them. Hanging off of Morgan like some lovesick puppy, she breaks rules and avoids the higher authorities – just so she can take the girl outside into the forest for a bit of sightseeing. In fact, she’s irritatingly naive right up until the final scene of the movie when I realised I was actually surprised Morgan hadn’t picked her off ages ago. Leslie is a good performer with a strong presence, it’s how her part was written that lets her down.
Morgan herself is clever; she can look at a person and instantly know who they are and what they do. Like a psychic. But her spacial awareness is shocking, as she can’t seem to tell when another character is nearby. She can read a person’s mind -but has no idea when one of the scientists is creeping up on her. Bit of a glitch there, eh?
Well. Not exactly a blockbuster, this one. Morgan is entertaining – but boring. A contradction of feeling which isn’t helped by the fact it is set in one place. Some movies I’ve seen where the action takes place in one area for the entire duration have been quite good. This one however misses the mark and becomes tedious towards the end. It’s a thriller which dissolves into mystery, which then fizzles out.
See for yourselves.
Or rather – don’t if you can avoid it.