Lee Weathers works as a risk management assessor for “Corporate”. The company sends her to examine and report on an ongoing top secret project that they have invested in. This project is Morgan. Morgan is a synthetic life form that was created with manufactured DNA by a group of ground breaking scientists. There has been an incident. Morgan had a little disagreement with one of her creators and corporate has sent Lee to find out the extent of the damage that has been done and also find out if Morgan will be allowed to continue.
On the surface, Morgan has the basic feel of a watered down Ex Machina, but goes a level deeper. At first the same feeling of isolation and the hubris of scientists that while they applaud their creation and pat themselves on the back, now begin to see that their life’s work may all be about to go down the crapper. They have also bonded with their creation. They have “raised” Morgan from conception so they have continually humanized her. They refuse to refer to Morgan as an “it”. They refer to Morgan with the pronouns “she” and “her”. They see Morgan as a remarkable achievement, a wonder child. Even when Morgan commits a brutal and gruesome attack against one of her team of creators, the group is more worried about what corporate will do to the project, to her. Silly scientists, you create a monster then you try to control it and hope it doesn’t get out of its cage. As with most movies of this type, at the beginning you always want to have a feeling of rooting for the life form (as a Trekkie this is instilled in me that all life is sacred and has a right to continue) but then there comes a point at which you begin praying for the souls that might get in Morgan’s way. Morgan was created for a reason and she is beginning to understand her purpose. Morgan is discovering what she is capable of and as she evolves she’s beginning to like it.
This film is suspenseful. When Lee arrives everyone knows why she is there. She has the power of veto over this project so they’re walking on eggshells trying to get a vibe from her and hoping they can convince her that this incident was just at little “glitch”. Also Morgan has already snapped once, so you’re waiting for when it will happen again and just how explosive it will be. The tension is quite palpable in some scenes. You’re waiting for the penny to drop and when does drop there is some grit and gore to be had. There is somewhat of a twist in this film that you could probably see coming two thirds of the way in. It does feel a little predictable but while you’re waiting for the final reveal of that twist, it’s still entertaining to see how it will all play out.
Good casting here Kate Mara (House of Cards) actually pulls off the cool corporate exec, but ultimately proves to be a bit of a bad ass. Anya Taylor-Joy (The Witch) delivers just the right balance of child bordering on adult. Even though Morgan is only six, she has the physical and psychological development of a 16 year old. There are also fine performances from Michelle Yeoh and Toby Jones as the lead scientists on the project; a brief appearance by Jennifer Jason Leigh (The Hateful Eight) as the unfortunate victim of Morgan’s little tantrum and Paul Giamatti as the psychologist who pays a deadly price for being the key to Morgan’s undoing.
In a nutshell, Morgan is slightly predictable but still entertaining and suspenseful. It might be hit or miss, but I think it might be worth a look. If you enjoyed Ex Machina you might enjoy this.