Combustible Celluloid
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With: 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
Written by: Seth W. Owen
Directed by: Luke Scott
MPAA Rating: R for brutal violence, and some language
Running Time: 92
Date: 09/02/2016

Morgan (2016)

2 Stars (out of 4)


By Jeffrey M. Anderson

Despite a great cast and similarities to Ex Machina, this sci-fi movie doesn't really have much to say outside of a vague cautionary message, and provides few thrills other than many bloody killings.

Lee Weathers (Kate Mara) from "corporate" arrives at a remote scientific compound, after an accident, apparently to determine the validity of the research. The research subject, Morgan (Anya Taylor-Joy, The Witch) was created and raised in a lab; now she's growing fast and seems to have gained some powerful abilities.

Despite sympathy from doctors and researchers such as Amy (Rose Leslie, Honeymoon), Morgan has already injured Kathy (Jennifer Jason Leigh), and psychologist Dr. Alan Shapiro (Paul Giamatti) doesn't fare so well either. Unfortunately, Shapiro sets off a chain of events that leads to Morgan's escape, and Lee is responsible for going after her.

Morgan is the directorial debut of Ridley Scott's son Luke Scott, who shot second-unit on his father's epic dud Exodus: Gods and Kings. While the new movie contains a few momentarily interesting visual ideas, including the reflective glass cage in which Morgan dwells, as well as the woods surrounding the compound, Scott can't manage to tie these into the story or its themes (not to mention that these same visual ideas were used to much better effect in Ex Machina).

Then, when it all comes inevitably down to a chase/fight scenario, Scott chooses choppy editing and fast, whipping camerawork, making it more disorienting than exciting. What's most perplexing is how such a phenomenal cast, including Jennifer Jason Leigh, Paul Giamatti, Brian Cox, Michelle Yeoh, Toby Jones, and Kate Mara, came on board for a script that feels unfinished.

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