I had heard literally nothing about this film until about three weeks ago when suddenly every bus stop & phone box was adorned with posters, & promotion clips were popping up on Facebook & twitter. A Ridley Scott film that went under the radar for me is rare, so too ease my guilt over missing the build up for it I went to the first screening I could.
With dad Ridley producing, it’s a really successful directorial debut from Luke Scott. Kate Mara leads as Lee Weathers, the dedicated & ruthless risk assessor for a big old scientific company, & Anya Taylor Joy plays Morgan. I feel that Anya is fast becoming the sneaky woman of the moment & is definitely one to watch. She’s only twenty & this is her second film as the title character in the past twelve months; her other being Thomasin in the acclaimed horror film The Witch: A New England Folktale. She’s such an interesting presence onscreen in a kind of unexplainable way, she just draws so much attention in a totally natural way.
The supporting cast is excellent too; Rose Leslie from Game of Thrones is excellently vulnerable as Dr. Amy Menser, & there’s also Paul Giametti, Michael Yare, Chris Sullivan, Vinnette Robinson, Michelle Yeoh, Boyd Holbrook & Toby Jones; who does a very good American accent. Nice one Toby.
The film is about an artificial being named Morgan. It’s a project manned by a team of staff who have all grown to love “her”, which causes them to sweep any problems that rise up from her under the rug & be forgotten. The film follows risk consultant Lee Weathers, who’s been sent from high up to assess the Morgan program after an incident leaves someone seriously injured.
I can’t wait any longer to talk about the best part of the film – there are so many badass ladies!!! Finally, a sci-fi action film with an equal amount of male & female characters, all diverse & all with the same skills & opportunities!! Because everyone’s so used to seeing men in all the films with like one or two female characters for representation it’s hard to realise that it’s totally inaccurate & unfair. This film doesn’t sell itself as being female led, it doesn’t stress it as a massive point in the story it just is, & that’s what I loved about it – it’s how it should be.
The female characters are well written with way more than one side to them. I think the best example of this is Vinnette Robinson as Dr. Brenda Finch, a talented scientist who is sickly sweet in love with her husband but is also amazing at hand to hand combat. While I am so so pleased that writer Seth W. Owen wrote the characters this way, multi sided female characters should be the norm instead of something that receives praise.
The story is pretty good, a little generic at times but well acted & filmed. There’s some excellent fight scenes too with some brilliantly choreographed moves, & lots of blood too so if you’re at all squeamish be warned. The plot twist could be seen as predictable, but I was too engaged to see to coming. The film doesn’t make the twist obvious, but knowledge of films could (if that makes any sense).
There is some really beautiful cinematography, especially in the scenes in the forests. There’s really wide shots full of lush green foliage with just one tiny Kate Mara at the bottom & it was really visually stunning. There’s also really interesting ways that one of the featured big glass walls is played with in shots which I think is really cool to experiment with. Looking back, some of those joys with the glass does actually hint at the big twist which is so clever how did I only just realise that?!
Music wise there isn’t much that I remember, just tense beats to keep you engaged & give you that heart beating nervous feeling which is always a favourite film feature of mine. Morgan the character is also a big fan of music, & likes classical & jazz music played loudly in her quarters so that’s fun too.
Stefano De Nardis of the costume department did a really great job at showing the characterisation through what they wore. Though I’m not a massive fan of Morgan’s fluffy grey hoody I did think Lee Weathers’ smart tailored suits & amazing coats were fabulous & I totally want them all.
Morgan is one of those films you look back on & realise you enjoyed it way more than you thought at the time. I at least keep thinking back to it, & I would recommend it to other people – but I also don’t think it’s a film that would please everyone.
All in all, while I don’t think it was the best film it is how I think films should be made. As a story it’s just more than alright, but as a film I think it’s a great achievement of a diverse cast, & it’s a pretty original & fresh story.