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Tuesday, August 30, 2016

GeekRex Quick Take: Morgan

The Buzz: Morgan is the directorial debut of Luke Scott, son of the famed director Ridley Scott. The premise of Morgan feels like it lives in the same realm as Blade Runner, too - it stars Anya Taylor-Joy (the girl from The Witch) as Morgan, an artificially intelligent humanoid who has recently committed an act of violence against one of her researchers. Kate Mara stars as Lee Weathers, the risk consultant who must decide if Morgan is still a viable project.

What's Great About the Movie: First of all, it's worth mentioning that the casting of this film is refreshing. We've got two female leads who could've been automatically cast as male because hey, sci-fi thriller, but weren't.  Beyond the casting and performances, the first two-thirds of the movie were also really enjoyable and reminiscent of last year's surprise hit Ex Machina. As Weathers examines Morgan and the way she interacts with her team of researchers, who call Morgan a "she" rather than an "it," she also explores the degree to which Morgan can feel human emotions, and whether those feelings make her human. The slow build of tension and the acting efforts from its leads in this portion of the film are almost worth the cost of admission.

What's Not-So-Great About the Movie: ... But it's that last third of the movie that's the kicker. It felt like the third act suddenly traded the Ex Machina vibe for a Terminator style action film, betting all of its previous intelligence and good will on a poorly-timed plot twist. This twist was revealed at the very end of the movie, by the way, but was clear to the audience well before the film's final act - I'd be shocked if it came as a twist to anyone in the audience. If Morgan had instead let the audience in on the not-so-secret secret a bit earlier, it would probably have had more time to revel in the details of the twist, rather than letting it feel like a cheap gimmick that the audience already saw coming.

Final Verdict: This wasn't a terrible movie, but it's likely to end up in the graveyard of films that are forgotten only a few months after release. Particularly after Ex Machina did what this film did so much better, it's hard to recommend Morgan for much beyond its interesting performances from Taylor-Joy and Mara.
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