Despite being billed as a high-octane action film that features the talented Scarlett Johansson, the new film “Lucy,” released yesterday, July 25, 2014, feels a lot more like an indie movie than a traditional blockbuster thriller.
“Lucy” tells the story of a young woman, obviously named Lucy, who happens to ingest a massive quantity of a drug that lets her use more of her brainpower than an ordinary human being can. The movie posits that humans only use 10% of their brains, and explores what would happen if a human being was able to use a larger percentage of his/her brain.
The potential impact of a person using more than 10% of their brain’s “cerebral capacity,” as it is frequently referred to, is explored by Professor Norman (played by Morgan Freeman). Throughout the film, clips of Norman delivering a speech exploring this possibility are shown as Lucy continues to use more of her brain and reaches the different percentages he mentions. His frequent explanations are supposed to help the viewer understand how Lucy is changing, but as she mentions, his understanding is “rudimentary,” so Lucy frequently has abilities that are unexpected and unexplained.
In addition to constantly disrupting the flow of the movie with Norman’s speech, viewers are also constantly shown video footage of animals in situations that correspond with the movie; a mouse inches towards a mousetrap, a lion chases a gazelle, etc. The various clips are intriguing, but jarring, and extremely unusual for a mainstream movie. Considering the fact that “Lucy” has a runtime of only 90 minutes, it seems like there isn’t quite enough time to fully explain the changes she is going through, and the clips seem a little bit too repetitive to be worth the valuable screen time they take up.
Lucy, the character, consistently makes profound statements describing the way her perspective on human life and existence is being altered by her heightened awareness and increased cerebral capacity. Her statements seem to continuously conflict with the action scenes and it makes it seem like the movie doesn’t quite know which direction to take.
Director Luc Besson works to make “Lucy” an intellectually stimulating, profound psychological thriller will leave audiences thinking about the points it made, while simultaneously entertaining them with action-packed gunfights. However, the film never seems to find a clear direction, which makes for an uncomfortable and somewhat confusing viewing experience.
Although “Lucy” has plenty of scenes that are brilliant and several scenes that are exhilarating, they feel disjointed, and the constant shots of animals and lectures just serve to further complicate the movie. Overall, “Lucy” feels like a film that got too far ahead of itself, which makes for a mediocre viewing experience that isn’t worth seeing in theaters. Interested moviegoers may be better off waiting to experience the movie for themselves once it is released on DVD, because it is definitely not a “must-see” movie.