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Morgan (7/10)

by Tony Medley

Not for children.

Runtime 87 minutes.

Anya Taylor-Joy plays Morgan, a human created from DNA, who in five years goes from being an infant to what looks like a young woman. She lives in an old house converted into some kind of lab where she’s cared for by a group of people led by Simon Ziegler (Toby Jones). The group has developed an affection for Morgan, who lives locked away in a room but apparently always under observation.

Enter Lee (Kate Mara) who has been sent by the corporate overseers of this project to make some sort of evaluation of Morgan. Morgan is not a robot or anything other than a human being cloned from some DNA, the origins of which we are not told. But she is definitely human, which is what makes this film so troubling.

Into the mix comes Alan Shapiro (Paul Giamatti), a psychologist whose job it is to determine of Morgan is “malfunctioning.” His climactic session with Morgan is one of the highlights of the film, aided and abetted by terrific performances by both Giamatti and Taylor-Joy.

Taking 2015's Ex Machina and its standout performance by Alicia Vikander one step further, this is a thought-provoking sci-fi study of a nihilistic evil manipulation of human life created through DNA cloning by a corrupt corporation that could result from advanced science that doesn’t recognize the soul that must be inherent in all human life, no matter how created. Despite the tilt towards horror and unnecessary graphic violence, it has fine acting, tight directing, and holds interest throughout.