‘Morgan’ an Uneventful, Recycled Mess

img_7676Between getting stabbed in this and punched in “The Hateful Eight,” it hasn’t been a good year to be Jennifer Jason Leigh’s left eye…

“Morgan” stars Kate Mara as a cooperate risk-management consultant who is sent to determine whether or not the company’s artificially-created humanoid (Anya Taylor-Joy) should be terminated after an incident (aforementioned eye-stabbing). Tony Jones, Paul Giamatti and Boyd Holbrook also star as Luke Scott (Ripley Scott’s son) makes his directorial debut.

The trailer for this film screams “Ex Machina” with a little bit of “Splice” (that weird 2010 Adrian Brody film you don’t remember). The early September release date and recycled premise both weren’t comforting from the start, and turns out the finished product doesn’t do anything to redeem itself.

Throughout the entire time my friend and I were watching this, all it did was prompt us to turn to each other and make references to other (better) movies (we were in an empty theater, we’re not disruptive monsters). But from “Titanic” to the upcoming “Loving” and especially the already mentioned “Ex Machina” (which if you haven’t seen by now, do it) another film about artificial life in a secluded lab, “Morgan” just feels like an idea that isn’t it’s own, and most of the film is predominantly boring exposition.

Seriously, 25 minutes into the film my friend turned to me and said, “so…nothing is happening” and he wasn’t lying; it takes an hour for anything resembling conflict to occur in the film. Until then we are introduced to characters we don’t care about, all of which have no true traits about them or reasons we should get attached.

Ten minutes in I said to my friend “I like Kate Mara, I really don’t want her to get typecast as the shrill, emotionless woman” but that’s exactly what she is here. Mara’s character is devoid of any quirks or true characteristics and just slowly walks around saying “I’m just here to do my job.”

On top of the slumber-inducing exposition (which, again, two-thirds of the film), there is just lazy filmmaking across the board here. Things like the high-grade security cameras in the top-tier laboratory flickering simply for thematic effect and a victim’s eyepatch being bloody and stale but a camp full of doctors and scientists don’t change it really just make you roll your eyes. There’s also a hand-to-hand fight scene that has about 40 cuts in 30 seconds and it’s pretty vomit-inducing.

The scene from the trailer where Paul Giamatti (a glorified cameo no doubt brought in by the director’s daddy to bring a semblance of gravitas to this mess) interviews Morgan is the lone highlight of the film. It has something resembling rising tension and also is the one scene that makes you question if Morgan is truly self-aware and feels emotion, or does she regurgitate what she thinks the scientists want to hear?

“Morgan” isn’t interesting or engaging and is actually quite boring, but that being said, my friend and I did have a good time laughing at it (it’s insane how dumb the climax becomes). The entire time I sat in my reclining chair the only thought that continued to race through my head was “huh…this is really making me want to watch ‘Ex Machina’ again…”

                     Critics Rating: 3/10

20th Century Fox

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