Lucy

Lucy
Director: Luc Besson
Stars: Scarlett Johansson, Morgan Freeman, Min-sik Choi
Year Released: 2014

Rating: 4/5

In what I can only describe as Luc Besson’s most intellectually ambitious project since The Fifth Element; Lucy is a cerebral mind-fuck that you cannot fully appreciate unless you accept the sci-fi aspects of the story and your own programmed binary paradigms. Yes, there is no such thing as CPH4 and the idea that we only use 10% of our brains was debunked years ago; the writer knows this and has stated so on the record numerous times. News flash, a lot of movies use fake science and present it as fact (Jurassic Park, X-Men, Avatar, etc). Moving on though, assuming the viewer can accept the fictional aspect of the film, Lucy is part action flick and part sci-fi thriller seemingly designed to leave the viewer wondering what the hell just happened, while planting the seed of thinking outside of the 1 + 1 + 2 box.

Scarlett Johansson plays the titular character, Lucy, who unwittingly finds herself transporting a new synthetic drug that appears to cause mania in those that use it. When she is exposed to the drug however, she experiences a change on the cellular level that she seems to exploit without understanding how, giving her the opportunity to push her mind beyond that 10% limit until she comes to understand that time is the sole measure of everything, the only true limitation mass has to contend with.
Before that happens though, she must meet Professor Norman, played by Morgan Freeman. Prof. Norman has been theorizing and lecturing on the concept of unlocking the human mind past the 10% limit and hypothesizing what changes would occur as more and more of the brain’s potential becomes unlocked.
In order to find Prof. Norman, Lucy must (of course) escape the antagonist of the story, Mr. Jang, played by Min-sik Choi. A Taiwanese gangster with plans to establish and control the global supply of CPH4. Mr. Jang not only provides the catalyst for the film but he also contributes the intense action that allows for demonstrations of Lucy’s more physical powers.
Not since Under Her Skin has Scarlett Johansson stepped out of her comfort zone to such a degree. Lucy is an everyday woman, not a gorgeous Hollywood superstar. Her physical attributes are immaterial in a reality where matter can be manipulated with will alone, and Lucy has will, in ways we mere 10%ers cannot even fathom.
For me, the idea that we humans are the designers of our own prisons, both in a literal sense and in the sense that the movie suggests, was the most powerful aspect of this film. The cut scenes that at first appear out of place, but as the movie progresses are folded neatly into a subliminal presentation that I never anticipated, only enhance the experience I had watching the movie.
I feel that the action was a tad overdone, it was a borderline crutch for Besson, one that none of his actors needed and that the story certainly does not need. The performances were powerful all around, fitting perfectly within the world built by Besson. One small detail that caught my attention was late in the movie when Lucy is undergoing a transformation (no spoilers here), her hair color remains consistent with physics, not typical Hollywood special effects. It is those small details that help the viewer remain engaged and leave with a giant question mark above their heads, and even after two viewing, I am still exploring the concepts thrown at the viewer of Lucy.

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