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Morgan - Exclusive to at Luna Leederville

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by Desiree Walsh (subscribe)
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Luke Scott’s directorial debut "Morgan"
Morgan is Luke Scott's directorial debut, the film is produced by Sir Ridley Scott (Alien, Blade Runner, Gladiator, Black Hawk Down, The Martian). Five members of the Scott family are credited directors. Luke Scott being one of them has worked on numerous other Ridley Scott productions, is an accomplished advertisement/commercial director, acclaimed short film director (Loom) - so is not without his own strong credentials independent of his father. However, there are Alien directorial influences; look for the long empty hallway shots and other such filming methods his father used to create a sense of dread and terror. Written by Seth Owen, Luke Scott did a script rewrite before bringing Morgan to the screen. Filmed in Northern Ireland, the film pretends to be situated in upper New York State. The film is just as confusing to situate amongst the genres – drama, thriller, horror, science fiction, action and/or fantasy - it's left to audiences choice.

The movie is set in a debunked, isolated, rundown mansion where Morgan (Anya Taylor-Joy), an experimental human hybrid, is being developed and tested. Morgan and a multi-disciplined group of scientists live together on site and have formed, what can be described as, a largely dysfunctional family. As far as the scientists go, this is probably a result of their isolated, bunked down existence, years spent totally focused on Morgan. The scientists' relationship with their subject swings from an unprofessional paternal/maternal approach to just plain patronising; again a result of over attachment, over personalisation. Maybe this commenced because of a whole notion of wanting to create a being better than themselves is a parental ideal?

Morgan actually belongs to a large global company who have manufactured multiple human hybrids prototypes. Unfortunately, the last hybrid prototype executed an incident that resulted in the deaths of all scientists working with it. This time, to prevent such an ending, the scientists have hypothesised and the large global company has agreed that an inclusion of more emotions into the hybrids genes would rectify this. And Morgan did succeed the scientists' initial expectations. Morgan has grown and developed at a rapid rate – the movie begins when Morgan is around five but she presents as a young adult. It is obvious that the large global company and the scientists have well and truly exceeded any ethical boundaries they might have once had but Morgan's real issues are only brought to head offices attention because she stabs Dr Kathy Grieff (Jennifer Jason Leigh) in the eye with a pen. Apparently Morgan was not happy about being told her outside privileges would remain restricted; an overprotective Dr Kathy Grieff thinks that then her responsibility.

Despite the staff being more like dotting parents than scientists they have forgotten one imporatant factor that is, it is generally the parents who teach their children to understand and express their emotions. It is one thing to have emotions, it is another to know how to filter them. Five year olds get angry, sad, frustrated, nervous, happy, or embarrassed but are unable to sort or name their emotions, nor are born with knowledge to read, or how to react to them, nor behave accordingly. Emotions are low-level responses, survival reactions encoded in our genes. Simply upping emotional levels is akin to simply raising the emotional volume which without training will result in very loud survival reactions. It is in the ability to perceive emotion, understand feelings, integrate emotion to facilitate thought, understand emotions, and to regulate those emotions that leads to high societal functioning and continual personal growth. Possessing this ability is emotional intelligence. There are two areas of emotional intelligence: Experiential (ability to perceive, respond, and manipulate emotional information without necessarily understanding it) and; Strategic (ability to understand and manage emotions without necessarily perceiving feelings well or fully experiencing them). Without emotional intelligence, a being cannot understand oneself or others, have little or no impulse control nor regulation of mood, cannot adapt to or cope with their immediate surroundings nor environmental demands. This is the theme to the film. Morgan is emotionally experiential and the scenario is set for the child to act out these emotions in very physical and inappropriate ways and from the beginning of this film, it is obvious, Morgan is about to get very, very inappropriate.

Morgan has two strong female leads - Morgan (Anya Taylor-Joy), and Lee (Kate Mara) - both do an extraordinary job in their roles. Anya Taylor-Joy swings Morgan from innocent to viciousness with ease – but both women are convincing in their mentally and physically gifted, somewhat emotionally cold roles. Lee is a Risk-Management Consultant and takes herself as seriously and is about as dry as her job title suggests. Lee must decide how to resolve the Morgan matter to the satisfaction of head office, this could mean Morgan's termination – and not in the sacked sense of the word, more by way of the final notice being lethal injection. So not unlike Alien's Ripley and the Alien Queen - the battle lines are drawn.

Morgan does look airily synthetic, she has pale and falsity determinable complexion, almost doll-like. Morgan spends the entire film in a hood up, hoodie which allows her to hid her face, or to keep out the world, separating herself from others. Just a bit of sci fi trivia - Sam Esmail of Mr Robot fame (critically acclaimed TV series) credited Blade Runner (Rigby Scott) for the character development in Mr Robot. His main character Elliot Alderson wears a hood up, hoodie - hiding his sleep deprived pale complexion whilst displaying his disconnect from the world. The original idea for the wearing of that hoodie in Mr Robot came from ET and its character much-loved character Elliot.

The downside of Morgan is the drama, horror, thriller, science fiction, action and/or fantasy identity crisis. The broad, sweeping scopes means no one genre gets time to develop and/or define itself. There is the pulling together of everything at the end, but then again, not really. One thing is for certain - Morgan is a creature creative cautionary tale. Feeling creative?
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When: From 1st December
Where: 155 Oxford Street, Leederville
Cost: starting at $14.50 concession
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