It’s an at­tempt to wed philo­soph­i­cal science fiction con­cepts with bloody hor­ror - a du­bi­ous en­deavor that some­how works

Malta Independent - - CINEMA -

A cor­po­rate trou­bleshooter (Kate Mara) is sent to a re­mote, top-se­cret lo­ca­tion, where she is to in­ves­ti­gate and eval­u­ate a ter­ri­fy­ing ac­ci­dent. She learns the event was trig­gered by a seem­ingly in­no­cent “hu­man,” who presents a mys­tery of both in­fi­nite prom­ise and in­cal­cu­la­ble dan­ger.

That mys­tery is Mor­gan, the next step in hu­man evo­lu­tion and a bio­engi­neered be­ing with syn­thetic DNA. At one month, she (it) was walk­ing and talk­ing; at six months, she ex­ceeded her cre­ators’ wildest ex­pec­ta­tions. Mor­gan is enig­matic and un­pre­dictable—a lab-cre­ated be­ing with emo­tional ca­pac­ity and con­flict­ing traits that blur the line be­tween be­ing hu­man and syn­thetic.

But what hap­pens when the cre­ation sur­passes the creator? And what’s more dan­ger­ous— this genetically en­gi­neered won­der or the cor­po­ra­tion that is over­see­ing its de­vel­op­ment?

From pro­ducer Ri­d­ley Scott and direc­tor Luke Scott, MOR­GAN of­fers a thrilling, vis­ceral and in­tense movie-go­ing ex­pe­ri­ence.

A noted com­mer­cials direc­tor who has also worked in var­i­ous ca­pac­i­ties on his fa­ther Ri­d­ley’s epic and ac­claimed films, Luke makes his fea­ture di­rec­to­rial de­but with MOR­GAN. The story’s themes clearly res­onate with the young film­maker, whose short film, Loom, shot on 4K 3D, was a kind of pre­cur­sor to MOR­GAN. Star­ring Gio­vanni Ribisi, the short was about a man hid­ing an artificial be­ing in a ge­net­ics work­shop.

Some of the ideas ex­plored in Loom were ex­panded upon in screen­writer Seth Owen’s orig­i­nal script for MOR­GAN, which en­tered the pres­ti­gious film in­dus­try “Black List” in 2014—com­piled an­nu­ally from the sug­ges­tions of more than 250 film ex­ec­u­tives who con­trib­ute names of their fa­vorite scripts writ­ten that year.

Scott was in­trigued by Owens’ un­usual ap­proach to some of the big sci­en­tific ques­tions of our time: if artificial in­tel­li­gence be­comes as smart, if not smarter than hu­mans, then what do we have to of­fer? Would artificial be­ings like Mor­gan be the next leap in our evo­lu­tion?

Even more sig­nif­i­cantly, Scott won­dered, “What mo­ti­vates us to syn­thet­i­cally pro­duce or re­pro­duce a hu­man be­ing? These are is­sues that en­com­pass faith, moral­ity, science and tech­nol­ogy.”

To fur­ther ex­plore and im­merse him­self in this bleedingedge re­search, Scott vis­ited Queens Univer­sity’s mi­cro­bi­ol­ogy labs. There, he learned that in­ves­ti­ga­tions in this area, though per­va­sive in the sci­en­tific com­mu­nity, were still ta­boo out­side the halls of academia and lab­o­ra­to­ries—and that ad­vances in this field were hap­pen­ing at warp speed. “It’s all pretty re­mark­able,” says Scott, whose pen­e­trat­ing queries some­times caught the labs’ pro­fes­sors off guard.

Clas­si­fi­ca­tion 15

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