What truly makes us human? In 2015, the film Ex Machina delved into the world of artificial intelligence and the Turing test. Following this comes the directorial debut of Luke Scott, Morgan which takes a different spin on the central question, this time with genetically modified human beings. Morgan, played by Anya Taylor-Joy is the latest in a long list of experiments; scientists trying to create the perfect human.
When the experiment goes wrong, and one of the scientist is attacked by Morgan, Lee, played by Kate Mara is brought in to analyse the situation and to exterminate the subject if needed. Lee walks into a situation where the scientists are infatuated and almost in awe of Morgan, and seem to have been blinded to the risks of such a creature. Lee, being a consummate professional remains cold towards the situation and is at loggerheads with the scientists, who are already sceptical about the company that have sent Lee.
Fresh off her performances in hit tv shows such as Game of Thrones and Downton Abbey, Rose Leslie plays Amy, the scientist that Morgan has become particularly close to. Being locked in a room all day every day, Morgan clings on to the hope of a trip into the woods with Leslie’s character. Toby Jones provides a strong performance as always and his character’s progression through the film props the film up and provides some moments of real shock.
The film spends the first half carefully building up the tension and the pace, and then suddenly the audience is thrust into the action as Morgan attempts to break out. What had previously been a scientific drama quickly turns into a horror of sorts, and some of the scenes are not for the faint of heart. The twists and turns that the film takes keep you constantly guessing and the last half hour truly takes your breath away at its unrelenting tension and violence.
The film will inevitably draw comparison to the highly rated, Ex Machina, and ultimately it does fall short of the heights that film reached. However, it is an interesting thriller with an important central question, and all leads to a satisfying, but thought provoking conclusion.
Dir: Luke Scott
Scr: Seth W. Owen
Cast: Kate Mara, Anya Taylor-Joy, Rose Leslie, Michael Yare, Toby Jones, Chris Sullivan
Prd: Mark Huffam, Michael Schaefer, Ridley Scott
DOP: Mark Patten
Runtime: 92 minutes
Morgan is out in cinemas now.