by Lisa Dib
At 92 minutes, sci-fi thriller Morgan could have done with an extra 20 or so. That's not to say that the film isn’t competently directed, well-written and chockers with decent actors, but a few ideas in the film are left to float, or not entered into at all.
Kate Mara (Shooter, The Martian) play Lee Weathers, an icy, androgynous risk assessor from a company that, in some indeterminate point in the future, develops artificial human beings. She’s sent to check up on a current “project” that’s going awry - the case of Morgan (Anya Taylor-Joy, The Witch). Basically, Morgan has started showing some unpleasant behaviour (stabbing people in the eyes, which, you can admit, is unpleasant in the very least) and Weathers is there to, as we grow to realise, ‘sort it out’.
As mentioned, the issue with Morgan the film is not the performances: everyone is in good form, especially Mara (all steely eyes and badassness); a brief appearance from Paul Giamatti as a psychiatrist gives the film a good dose of menace; Joy was also great, in a role that, as I will go into, is not fully defined. She has to play a character that is technically only a toddler, but looks like a teenager, and thinks like nothing else on Earth - a tough role.
Morgan is a good idea that isn’t explored well enough. What exactly Morgan, the character, is isn’t properly explained; there’s a brief expository spiel when Weathers arrives, but that isn't sufficient or clear. As an audience member, you spend a lot of time wondering what exactly Morgan is (the people that ‘created’ Morgan all refer to Morgan as “her/she”; Weathers insists on referring to Morgan as “it”) because that fact is meant to inform all of its decisions and motivations. So you feel a bit vague on that one.
Regardless, director Luke Scott (son of Ridley) in his directing debut and screenwriter Seth Owen do a sufficient job of employing enough suspense and intensity for a hour and a half (could’ve used less fight scenes, though - they weren’t interesting enough to have that many for that long) in an inevitably middle-of-the-road thriller.
Morgan is out exclusive to Cinema Nova on November 17.