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‘Morgan’ (review)

morganProduced by Ridley Scott,
Michael Schaefer, Mark Huffam
Written by Seth Owen
Directed by Luke Scott
Starring Kate Mara, Anya Taylor-Joy,
Toby Jones, Rose Leslie,
Boyd Holbrook, Michelle Yeoh,
Jennifer Jason Leigh, Paul Giamatti

I went into Morgan with no idea what I was seeing. I didn’t read anything because I wanted to be surprised.

I was not surprised at all. The only thing that left me sort of surprised about this action-thriller that it was only mildly predictable.

The story focuses on a young girl, Morgan, the namesake of the film, played by Anya Taylor-Joy (The Witch).

A normal teenage girl, or is she?

Forty-five seconds into this movie you find out she is not at all what she seems. When there is an incident at the laboratory where she is being studied, the corporation that is funding the operation sends in a risk-management consultant to see what went wrong.

She soon discovers that there is even more to to Morgan then she was originally led to believe. When things go even more sideways she must contain the situation. Morgan escapes and The Consultant must track her down. The Consultant is brilliantly played by Kate Mara (The Martian) and one of the two good things i like about the film. The other being the performance by Taylor-Joy as Morgan.

Beautiful cinematography try to save what is, in fact, a pedestrian thriller. At moments it is almost a taught-psychological film. Director, Luke Scott, son of the producer and film maestro Ridley Scott himself, has learned well from his father about how to make a beautiful shot film despite a mediocre and predictable script. Writer Seth Owen almost has what could be a great script given one more rewrite to really flesh out the actions and motivations of the actors.

The scientists and doctors played by Michelle Yeoh, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Toby Jones, Michael Yare, Chris Sullivan, Vinette Robinson and Rose Leslie are all good.  I DO love watching Paul Giamatti at his most “Giamattiest” since San Andreas, who plays the corporation-assigned psychologist. They really try to make the words mean something and convey the gravitas I believe Owen was trying to go for but they can only do so much. Even the greatest actors in the world can be hamstrung by a “meh” script.

I left comparing this film to two other psychological thrillers, Ex Machina and Under The Skin. I love both of those films and though I kind of enjoyed this film it was missing something. I think, ironically, it was missing heart and soul. All the gloss and beautiful cinematography that I love did it’s best to distract me from the fact that the weak script made me not really care about any of the characters in the film no matter what happened to them. I found their characterizations to be annoying save the two main characters played by Mara and Taylor-Joy.

Perhaps it is because of the mostly lackluster film fare we have been served so far this summer that this film ends up looking a lot better than it actually is, but I can’t decide if the film stands out because of the crap that is surrounding it or if it is actually that good. I am left to wonder if this films came out against stronger films would I still feel the same. Perhaps I will see it again once it is actually released. We shall see.

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