Lucy is the new film by director Luc Besson. It stars Scarlett Johansson in a role intended for Angelina Jolie. You might prefer one actor over the other, but there are logical comparisons that make these two superstars interchangeable. A notable similarity is that both women inhabit a level of fame and presence unavailable to others. It makes sense then that a film about a woman who surpasses %10 of her brain’s capacity to utilize a full %100 would star someone who, in real life, exceeds well beyond world expectations. That the person is Johansson seems even more correct, although it would be presumptuous to assume Jolie would have made a lesser-Lucy. Still,as an action-star, of the two, Johansson has the better track record what with the Avengers to her credit and Jolie has - well, Jolie has Laura Croft.
With Lucy, Besson has made a better film than he has in years. Lucy is Besson’s turn towards a superhero action revenge flick dressed up as a science-fiction thriller. He edges closer to The Fifth Element rather than The Professional, but gratefully, he’s far from last year’s The Family.
The film is not flawless and Besson has a strange way of telling this story. Footage of predators hunting prey in their natural element are intercut with the cinematic dangers and perils lurking behind and within our heroine. It’s a head-first dive into an allegory of nature’s instinctually ruthless drive. The illusion is so obvious that hopefully it’s a sight gag, but with Besson, one can’t be too sure.
The film plops in Morgan Freeman as a scientist who contemplates and speculates on what might be achieved, and what might be destroyed should someone like Lucy appear. Lucy does appear and Freeman is left to speculate no more. His most essential function in the film is to provide the movie with its somewhat limp scientific logic and then to stand and look astounded as it all unfolds around him.
The one liner in Lucy is a ‘what if?’ scenario. What if someone operated on a full %100 of their brain’s capacity?
The longer synopsis is that a young woman studying abroad ends up as a human cargo mule with a package of synthetic designer drugs sewn into her abdomen. When the bag breaks and the drugs seep into her system, she turns into in to a single-minded omnipotent vigilante feeling and understanding everything so thoroughly and responding to all situations with a cool assessment and uncanny accuracy. At one point she shoots a patient on an operating table, shoves him away and demands the doctors take care of her. It is shocking and threatens to turn our affections away from her, until she informs the doctors that the prior patient was, under no circumstance or miracle, going to survive.
Lucy is a playful mind trip that takes a turn towards the bizarre and wraps up in a rather quick and unexpected manner. Arrive to the theatre with only the %10 of your brain required to buy a ticket and find a seat. Utilize much more than %10 and you risk having your brain protesting against it.