Lucy (2014)

August 23, 2014

Director: Luc Besson

Duration: 89 minutes

What a mess. The tragedy placed in audiences’ lap in Lucy is that of a director with mastery of angle, frame and motion but not of narrative. Here we have an interesting notion poorly executed. This failure is either down to a hubristic reach outside the grasp of the source or a compromise aimed to sate the Friday night cinema crowd. No one will away content.

Morgan Freeman is a university lecturer utilised as our commentary and our guide. His is a spokesperson offering hypotheses and theory. He addresses the collected students in the lecture hall that with the news that we utilise merely 10% of our mental capacity. He ruminates on our lag behind Dolphins’ superior 20%. What if we could tap into more? We’ve achieved so much on 10, what if we accessed the higher reaches of our capacity? What would happen? What could we master? So far, so interesting.

This is set against Scarlett Johansson’s Lucy, who is thrown into a danger once shifty lover Richard handcuffs a suitcase to her arm and asks her to deliver it to a gentleman in a hotel on his behalf. With no choice in the matter, she does as she’s told. Johansson is once again mired and lost in translation when she is strong armed and violently threatened by the Asian recipient, Mr Jang. They would not appear to know what is in the briefcase. Once it is discovered that the contents is a narcotic aimed for the illegal recreational drug market, she becomes a live host for the drug’s transportation. When an unforeseen event sparks it’s leakage, her overdose unleashes the full potential of her mental capacity.

For those looking for eye candy and no more, the pyrotechnics do proffer bang for your buck and the car chases are reminiscent of an updated Ronin (1998). Some sections even prompt wonder in a similar way to the last twenty minutes of 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968). If this sounds like high praise, then it is meant to. The failing here is the distraction that is the poor characterisation, which is more B caricature, offset against an A movie budget. This incongruence is perpetually bothersome, like a fly buzzing around the room looking for an open window. In this case, the windows are closed.

The science is not adequately explored, the morality of the protagonists are unexplained and/or addressed when they absolutely should be. This is a film as synthetic as the drug itself. It will give you a comedown from the moment the drug spills into Johansson’s blood stream. Johansson herself may well be excellent and the effects are flawless, but that can’t save Lucy from being a bitter disappointment. One to avoid.


Lucy is in cinemas from 22nd August 2014.

Here is the trailer:

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