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Luke Scott is the son of famed director Ridley Scott (Alien (1979), Blade Runner (1982), Gladiator (2000), The Martian (2015)). After having been shown the ropes by his father and walking in his footsteps for a while, Luke is ready to start blazing his own path and creating his own identity. His first feature length attempt is one that relies heavily on science fiction even if it’s not technically considered a sci-fi movie. And given his father’s career path, Morgan should surprise no one in how it’s constructed.

Morgan (Anya Taylor-Joy) is not your typical young lady. This much is obvious from the start. She is kept in a secluded controlled environment and is studied 24 hours a day, seven days a week. This is no way to raise a child, then again Morgan doesn’t fit into any standard category. Surrounded by doctors and other “professional types”, Morgan has the tendency to lash out when her mood sees fit to do so. After a latest incident, the corporation behind this facility calls on Lee (Kate Mara) to investigate further and provide invaluable feedback. The answers that she is seeking belong to questions that audiences haven’t even fathomed to think. This leads to a game of catch up, mystery and even more questions. At some point audiences will find themselves pondering the same question, what is Morgan?

Luke Scott is like that overzealous teenager that’s out to prove to his parents that he can indeed make responsible decisions. He takes the idea of a story and runs with it while bringing in a decent cast of actors to help realize his vision. Anya Taylor-Joy (The Witch (2015)) and Kate Mara (The Martian (2015)) are the two leads that this plot revolves around. Rose Leslie (HBO’s Game of Thrones), Toby Jones (Captain America: The First Avenger (2011)), Jennifer Jason Leigh (The Hateful Eight (2015)), Brian Cox (The Bourne Identity (2002)) and Paul Giamatti (Straight Outta Compton (2015)) all co-star in this feature. That’s a lot of people for such a short movie. It’s tough to really judge the acting due to the tone of Morgan as well as the time constraints. It isn’t like they have time blossom as characters and, in some cases, their roles require them to be almost devoid of emotion. I suppose in that respect though, it was a success.

Morgan has a very uneven pace and any hopes of coming away from this weekend’s box office as a winner will depend heavily on if it can hook audiences on the mystery of what it’s peddling. This will depend on just how much effort viewers want to put into this one. The commercials and trailers clearly send forth signals that there’s a lot of thrilling moments going on. Well that’s all in the eye of the beholder. I found it to be somewhat drab, mechanical in its execution and predictable to an extent. Others may completely see things differently in their eyes. Luke Scott still has a long way to go though if he wants to capture the minds, hearts and imagination of moviegoers.

Morgan is perplexing in this regard, often times plots are unnecessarily drug out leaving audiences only to become disinterested while trying to paint a grandiose epic tale. So yeah, director Luke Scott attempts to do that same thing but in a much shorter time. The runtime for this horror-ish mystery drama is only 92 minutes HOWEVER it probably needed another 45 minutes or so to give the characters proper time to grow and flesh themselves out. It is because of this hurried approach that takes all of the potential joy out of Morgan. Maybe I’m still ruined by Ex Machina (2015) with my views of how a movie like this should play out. Either way though, it just isn’t as entertaining as it could have been.

Think twice before shelling out top dollar for non-matinee tickets for this one. Marketing has been pretty strong for Morgan but it won’t be enough to keep audiences coming out in droves. While not a terrible movie by any means, I find it very difficult to recommend this to the masses. If you’re still interested however, you can catch it in theaters this Labor Day weekend….but it won’t be showing for long.

Morgan is streaming now on the following services:
Movie Reelist Contributor: Carl Wheeler

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