Director: Luke Scott (2016) BBFC cert: 15
Kate Mara gives a blank performance as a corporate investigator in this wearingly predictable sci-fi thriller.
It’s a curious choice of material for a directorial debut by Luke Scott, who presumably would enjoy being recognised for more than being the son of industry titan, Ridley.
Grappling but never getting to grips with sci-fi’s key theme of sentience, Scott Jnr’s film desperately clings to the coat tails of his father masterpiece, Blade Runner (1982). For long stretches Morgan feels like an unofficial fan fiction prequel. It is produced by Scott Snr’s production house.
Alex Garland’s debut Ex Machina (2015) covered much of the same ground and is a far superior model.
As the immaculately presented Lee Weathers, Mara arrives at a remote research facility to assess the viability of Morgan as a potential product stream in light of a violent episode.
Morgan is the result of synthetic DNA and nano-bot technology being subjected to an accelerated growth programme. It/she appears to be a teenager yet is really only five years old.
Anya Taylor-Joy endows her dead-eyed and hoodie-wearing character with a suitably sullen teenage malice and is capable of defending herself.
Toby Jones and Michelle Yeoh furrow their brows as scientists while Paul Giamatti arrives to administer a psyche evaluation which is definitely not a Voigt-Kampff test. The scientists regard Morgan as their child and are suspicious of Lee’s motives.
The evil corporate angle is over emphasised and under developed, humourless characters leave us cold and there’s a forgettable soundtrack. Though we’re presented with the occasional arresting visual composition, there’s a lack of ambition in the camera movement.
Despite nicely executed bloodshed and decent stunt work, this is a functional and uninspiring creation lacking the necessary heart and soul.