Lucy (2014) Film Review, a movie directed by Luc Besson, starring Scarlett Johansson, Claire Tran, Frédéric Chau, Jan Oliver Schroeder, Morgan Freeman, Amr Waked, Mason Lee, Claire Tran, Frédéric Chau, Jan Oliver Schroeder, Morgan Freeman, Analeigh Tipton, Min-sik Choi, and Pilou Asaek.
Lucy is the name of our ancestor, the Australopithecus whose remains were discovered in Ethiopia in 1974. Only now, director Luc Besson has connected her to Scarlett Johansson, the star of this highly entertaining blockbuster.
The film goes off to an innocuous start, with Professor Norman (Morgan Freeman) giving a lecture about the unlocked capacity of the human brain. What could humans be capable of if we could use 100% of our brains as opposed to just 10%? Needless to say, the film’s premise is based on a well-propounded myth, but it is science fiction, with an emphasis on the latter word. Interspersed with images of the Earth in all its manmade glory, the film goes for a bigger message anyway: What are we as a species doing with all our potential?
As we ponder on, we meet Lucy (Scarlett Johansson), who seems to be a student in Taiwan. She has somehow become involved with Richard, played by the brilliant Pilou Asbaek from the Danish TV-series Borgen. He shines in the brief role, embodying a sketchy character who makes $1000 delivering what he calls ”paperwork.” Lucy refuses to help him out with this delivery, as anyone using 10% of their brain is wont to do. But things go awry, she gets pulled in, and encounters Mr. Jang (Choi Min-Sik), a drug lord who turns out to be dealing CP4, a powerful new drug in blue powder form. The ensuing scenes are priceless, as a convincingly intimidating Choi Min-Sik — known to American audiences as the lead in Oldboy — orders his cronies around in Korean to the horror of Lucy. Some of Johansson’s best moments in the film come from this scene, which carries a great sense of suspense mixed with Besson’s classic humor. Her Lucy is bewildered, terrified and so willing to comply as she deals with a translator. The dialogue in Korean is funny and makes it a shame that it is left un-subtitled. In the end, Lucy really has no choice but to deliver the drug against her will, seeing as it is now inside her body.
But Lucy’s journey really begins when the drug spills out inside her body and starts to affect all her cells. Her brain capacity increases with time and we see the frightened girl turning into something akin to a god. Lucy’s lack of emotion, heightened awareness and intelligence as well as generally kicking butt all add up to an enjoyable sequence of events in which the visual effects department feature very strongly. Scarlett Johansson excels in her robot-like portrayal of a being who can control the elements, gamma rays and technology among other things. Appearing before Professor Norman, she confesses that she doesn’t know what to do with all her power. In turn, the professor imparts his own wisdom, triggering Lucy into newfound action.
We subsequently follow her to Paris, where a showdown commences between the aforementioned Korean gangsters and Lucy, assisted by Pierre (Amr Waked) of the French police. Meanwhile the Professor and his fellow scientists study Lucy, hoping to understand the knowledge she now possesses. She aids their effort willingly as we await an answer to the question posed in the very beginning: What are we really capable of?
The film comes full circle as Lucy unlocks 100% of her brain capacity, and we are treated to a tableau alluding to Michelangelo’s ”God and Adam.” With Times Square flashing by through the ages, dinosaurs and the Big Bang, Besson questions the notion of time and how it affects our perception of the world. Lucy answers the question herself, showing us how to use our human abilities. But as a film, Lucy offers more of a solid, entertaining romp rather than a thought-
provoking philosophical experience. Science fiction with an emphasis on fiction. Nevertheless, you could do worse than watch this thoroughly enjoyable film this summer.
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