Thursday, December 08, 2016

'Morgan' Opts for Predictable Thrills Instead of Deep Science Fiction

Morgan tells the story of a laboratory-created human being named Morgan (Anya Taylor-Joy) who has been rapidly aged into adolescence in just five years, and is intellectually and physically enhanced.  One day, she begins to demonstrate violent tendencies, and sent to determine if she poses enough threat to warrant elimination is Lee Weathers (Kate Mara), a risk-assessment specialist for the corporation that funded the laboratory. The scientists that raised her insist she’s not dangerous. But when Morgan breaks out, following an unfortunate incident with a taunting psychiatrist (Paul Giamatti), Lee and the lab’s staff have to face the terrifying scenario of being locked with an unpredictable, bio-engineered human running amok.

This movie has an intriguing “human hybrid” premise, initially reminding me somewhat of the brilliant science fiction film Splice. And for stretches, despite its dragging pacing sometimes, it was looking to be a strikingly thoughtful piece of science fiction. However, as it progresses, the narrative gradually lessens its concentration on deeply exploring the questions that such a premise stirs, until it completely decides to become a full-blown, conventional thriller.

And, oh, it has a plot twist that has the potential to be incredibly surprising if it had been developed and executed well. But it ended up being easily predictable and almost anticlimactic.

In the end, Morgan entertains with strong performances from its cast, intense sequences, and a sufficient sense of suspense. However, it doesn’t feel fresh, insightful, and meaty – which it could have been, if the storytelling fully committed to being smart and dared to push boundaries.

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