Review: Morgan

Score: B

Director: Luke Scott

Cast: Kate Mara, Anya Taylor-Joy, Rose Leslie, Boyd Holbrook

Running Time: 92 Minutes

Rated: R

Every once in a while, it’s nice to go into a movie and know next to nothing about it. When I saw Morgan, all I knew was that it was about a kid with freaky powers and it was directed by Ridley Scott’s son. I hadn’t seen a trailer. I didn’t know any of the cast. I went in as cold as someone who’s obsessed with movies can.

And you know what? Morgan is all the better for it.

It’s basically Ex Machina, Jr. but without any of that film’s nuance or intelligence. It wants to get straight to the not-quite-human kicking ass. And at just 92 minutes, it wastes almost no time getting there. In fact, its opening scene features Morgan (Anya Taylor-Joy) eye-gouging one of her doctors (Jennifer Jason Leigh, sadly wasted in her few scenes). The company bankrolling this experiment brings in Lee (Kate Mara) to investigate if this was a one-off incident or if this project is too risky and needs to be shut down.

The problem is the rest of the crew – including Toby Jones, Michelle Yeoh and Rose Leslie – have grown far too attached to Morgan. She’s not human, and appears to be about 13 despite technically only existing for five years. Like Ava in Ex Machina, she’s manipulative enough to get exactly what she wants from the people around her.

To say things get bad in a hurry would be in an understatement. But even as the body count starts to rise, none of the crew are willing to throw away years research and “terminate” Morgan. There’s also a twist here I saw coming a mile away, but that doesn’t take anything away from the film’s cheap thrills.

Labor Day Weekend is typically a lull in the movie calendar. The big blockbusters have all debuted and we’re not quite into prestige season. That’s why this is the perfect time to see Morgan. It’s a nasty little thriller that doesn’t have anything of substance to say. But it’s stylish and entertaining. Get Luke Scott a sharper script, and he could one day be as good as his dad or uncle.


About Kip Mooney

Kip Mooney
Like many film critics born during and after the 1980s, my hero is Roger Ebert. The man was already the best critic in the nation when he won the Pulitzer in 1975, but his indomitable spirit during and after his recent battle with cancer keeps me coming back to read not only his reviews but his insightful commentary on the everyday. But enough about a guy you know a lot about. I knew I was going to be a film critic—some would say a snob—in middle school, when I had to voraciously defend my position that The Royal Tenenbaums was only a million times better than Adam Sandler’s remake of Mr. Deeds. From then on, I would seek out Wes Anderson’s films and avoid Sandler’s like the plague. Still, I like to think of myself as a populist, and I’ll be just as likely to see the next superhero movie as the next Sundance sensation. The thing I most deplore in a movie is laziness. I’d much rather see movies with big ambitions try and fail than movies with no ambitions succeed at simply existing. I’m also a big advocate of fun-bad movies like The Room and most of Nicolas Cage’s work. In the past, I’ve written for The Dallas Morning News and the North Texas Daily, which I edited for a semester. I also contributed to Dallas-based Pegasus News, which in the circle of life, is now part of The Dallas Morning News, where I got my big break in 2007. Eventually, I’d love to write and talk about film full-time, but until that’s a viable career option, I work as an auditor for Wells Fargo. I hope to one day meet my hero, go to the Toronto International Film Festival, and compete on Jeopardy. Until then, I’m excited to share my love of film with you.

Leave a Reply