Morgan (2016) is a slick taut Sci-fi thriller that channels the minimalist slow burn story of Ex Machina (2015) with the suspenseful action of Alien (1979). Perhaps it is no accident that Luke Scott chose for his first feature film, a genre and storyline similar to that which also made his father Ridley Scott famous back in 1979.

A secret underground laboratory in a remote undisclosed forest is home to a group of dedicated scientists working for an unseen corporate entity to develop the first genetically engineered artificial person with highly evolved traits; a new kind of being not seen before.

The scientists seem proud and excited that the project has finally yielded an impressive specimen, but all is not what it seems. A corporate risk management consultant (Kate Mara) has been dispatched by the company’s head executive to investigate an accident at the lab. 

The experiment has apparently taken a violent turn as one of the scientists was injured in an altercation with the young trial subject known as Morgan (Anya Taylor-Joy). Behaving like surrogate parents, the scientists all believe it was just an isolated incident and are ready to take the blame for what was surely just a misunderstand by a five year old child not yet in control of her emotions.

What this close-knit team doesn’t know is that the corporation has far more sinister plans for the Morgan project. So when a provocative psychologist (Paul Giamatti) is brought in to evaluate Morgan’s emotional stability and ultimately make recommendations to the company about Morgan’s fate, the film quickly goes into action horror/thriller mode.

While trying to save the child they have invested so much time developing from the corporation’s mandate, the isolated team of shocked scientists has no idea what they’re up against and quickly start falling victim to her special abilities.

Produced by Ridley Scott’s Scottfree productions, Morgan is visually stunning with a dark sleek futuristic design and similar mix of natural and high-tech look of last year’s Ex Machina (2015). Like that movie, Morgan poses the frightening question; if humans value freedom above all, what would an artificially engineered person with superior intelligence do to gain that freedom if it were taken away?

In that film, as in this one, the newly created being adapts and quickly learns from human behavior how to take advantage of our weaknesses. The film leaves us with unsettling questions about ourselves and our fears with possibilities for developing its characters in future installments. 

This highly entertaining film is lifted by an excellent ensemble cast giving some great performances especially by the always amazing Paul Giamatti who really gets the suspense ball rolling with his alternately sarcastic and in-your-face style nastiness.

There’s a bright future for this promising young filmmaker. Let’s hope that Luke Scott has his father’s talent for creating visually stunning and provocative films.


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