Written by Tommy Tracy
Morgan Plot Summary:
A corporate consultant (Kate Mara) must make the decision to terminate a genetically-modified human (Anya Taylor-Joy), who may or may not be more than she seems.
So Morgan has arrived, a film I was highly anticipating and have gone on record as saying would be the sleeper hit of 2016. As I entered the theater for my town’s one and only showing this weekend (because limited releases are still a thing), I was eager to see a psychological horror/thriller film with excellent character development and, perhaps, a journey into something different. An hour and a half later, I left my empty theater highly disappointed.
The film starts strong with a video of our titular character attacking Jennifer Jason Leigh (more on her later) and ripping out her eye. Let me first say, this is not a spoiler as it is expressly shown in trailers. We then cut to Kata Mara’s Lee Weathers entering a scientific compound and quickly making enemies of the six scientists who are in charge of Morgan. Lee, a risk consultant for a large corporate firm, is there to dictate whether or not Morgan is a risk to the company’s future, and worth the money in resources they are dropping for her. I’m not withholding much here, either.
Morgan herself is a strange character. A science experiment who is only five-years old, but with the body, language and awareness of a teenager. She has feelings, but is scared to express them. She loves the scientists, her “friends,” and they love her back. Lee notices the strange dynamic – a weird family not far from the Manson Family. This is where the film fails. The basic feeling, we, as an audience, are supposed to feel is love, but you can’t help but notice that each and every person in this film not named Lee or Morgan are the stupidest people you could imagine. I’m talking 80’s slasher movie stupid here.
Once more, the film doesn’t know what it wants to be. I can deeply appreciate a film that incorporates horror, thriller, sci-fi, action and mystery into a package, but it has to be neat, organized and fulfilling. Morgan suffers from not having an identity, trying to cram as much into its runtime as possible, without setting a tone and playing with it.
I don’t talk much of editing in my reviews, but My God, what a poor example this film sets for future editors. I understand that a teenage girl would not be permitted to jump around a room, fire a gun and fight people, but it should not be obvious to an audience that a stunt double is performing these acts. Morgan seems to be a bulkier person in shots where her face isn’t shown. There is one scene in particular where she grows about six inches as she hops on a table.
But there is a kernel here. A silver lining of decentness that I must share. Kate Mara is spectacular as the cold and calculating Lee, never showing a true emotion other than the work she was set to do. Anya Taylor-Joy is also fantastic, as she was earlier this year in the criminally underrated The Witch, playing a soul you can’t help but feel sorry for. Everyone else is pointless in their roles, especially Jennifer Jason Leigh, whom is only here to provide needless exposition and then do nothing the rest of the film. Seriously, blink and you miss her.
The biggest travesty of Morgan is how pathetically boring it is. A film with such potential and originality should not fail as largely as this film does. With no identity, poor editing and a serious lack of enthusiasm, Morgan isn’t worth the price of admission, and left this poor reviewer with a headache of disappointment.