Luc Besson is the third Directer this year to cast Scarlett Johansson as a lead in a Sci-Fi film. (Fourth if you include The Winter Soldier.) Lucy, on a bigger budget than Her & Under The Skin, is based on the often quoted myth that humans only utilise 10% of our potential brain function. The eponymous character inadvertently ingests a drug that gradually increases how much brain function she can use. At the back of this Morgan Freeman plays Professor Norman an non specific brain “expert.” Introduced by delivering a lecture about abilities humans could unlock by accessing more of our brain. Who unashamedly admits that he does not know what would happen if we could access 100%. Do you think we might find out by the end?
Besson immediately let’s us know where we are with this Action-Sci-Fi; as Lucy is forced to deliver a locked briefcase to gang boss Mr Keng (Choi Min-sik.) In case you didn’t know that this is a dangerous it is intercut with images of a mouse approaching a trap and prey being stalked on the savanna. With pseudo-Mallick intentions Besson has a lot of fun with cinematic metaphors throughout Lucy; as we do after she inadvertently ingests the “CPH4” accelerating drug. Her brain function increases exponentially as an array of powers become accessible to her.
Johansson pulls in a glassy eyed performance that holds the film together. There’s electricity when she’s on screen and when she’s not on screen Dr. Exposition probably is. Of course it opens up a lot of fun action scenes that are well served by the Sci-Fi premise. Besson is not reaching for low hanging apples, instead aiming for the top of the tree. Evoking films such as 2001: A Space Odyssey, and Inception, and Mallick’s Tree Of Life and do so at your own risk. It’s a B-movie Sci-Fi with higher aspirations as it powers through it’s gaps in logic. Being more comparable to this years Transcendence. It’s fast paced irreverence takes you on a fun ride; if Besson did philosophy lectures.
Besson tears through logic to bring us a well-performed and ambitious project that is more vengeful fun than thoughtful.