Lucy (2014)

Lucy (2014)

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His sales pitch was being lapped up by the captive audience.
His sales pitch was being lapped up by the captive audience.

Twitter Plot Summary: Lucy finds herself using more than 10% of her brain capacity after a drug seeps into her bloodstream.

Five Point Summary:

1. That drug looks a lot like Walter White’s own brand.
2. Why is Morgan Freeman even here?
3. Some random French cop is now along for the ride too.
4. Obligatory random shootout in a fancy looking corridor.
5. Isn’t she becoming her character from Under The Skin?!

Luc Besson’s work as a film director have a delightfully off-kilter perspective to them, no doubt a result of his mainland Europe origins and unique perspective on storytelling. This immediately comes to the fore in Lucy, his latest directorial effort, where we’re treated to shots of creatures in the natural world intercut with the main action, a less than subtle metaphor for the predatory nature of some people or species. There’s even opportunity to pay homage to the likes of 2001: A Space Odyssey with a flashback to the earliest proto-human, and another less than subtle metaphor of the first human being named Lucy.

Lucy takes its inspiration from the (incorrect) notion that humans can only use 10% of their brains capacity, and if we were to unlock more of this we would be able to control our bodily functions (not just the decision about when we visit the toilet), develop telekinetic powers and be able to visualise wifi signals – because humans with use of 40% of their brain’s capacity are always wanting to check their emails or post their latest thoughts on Facebook.

Ironically it’s as Lucy (the character) starts to get closer and closer towards accessing 100% of her brain’s capacity that the plot starts to unravel, the urgency decreasing despite the plot threads making their way towards their resolution. The Triad gangsters wander around Paris with their guns on display and barely an eyelid is batted by the locals, and when the inevitable gunfight takes place it’s limited to a corridor that dissolves in vast showers of plaster as if it’s an unused set from the Matrix trilogy.

Morgan Freeman was surprised to find out he was in the film, and almost entirely unnecessary.
Morgan Freeman was surprised to find out he was in the film, and almost entirely unnecessary.

Johansson is a dedicated lead, managing to make us care about Lucy despite the lack of time given to developing her personality. She is at first in way over her head, an unwitting and unwilling drug mule forced to smuggle a new drug into Europe via an incision in her stomach. As she begins to unlock more of her brain’s capacity she becomes more of an automaton, losing her humanity as a direct result of her burgeoning intelligence and abilities. This portion of the story isn’t given anywhere near enough time to be fully developed, the third act apparently choosing to rush towards its conclusion rather than make an effort to develop the idea further. A missed opportunity, perhaps.

Morgan Freeman is almost superfluous to the plot, although you could argue that applies to everyone else here besides Lucy and the Triad gangsters who kick the story off. Even the French cop who Lucy pairs up with serves no purpose other than to act as a reminder to Lucy of what it means to be human, and even then he doesn’t do a particularly good job of it, spending much of his time running around after her and looking puzzled.

There are a lot of good ideas in Lucy, even if the plot that drives it is pure hokum. It may not make much sense scientifically but as entertainment in its most basic form it succeeds.

Score: 3/5

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