Scarlett Johansson is one of the hottest actresses working today, yet surprisingly she has not really had her own starring vehicle to date, unless you count "The Nanny Diaries." There is talk of a Black Widow solo movie, but it is unknown if and when that will occur. Today, July 25, she is carrying a film all on her own, Luc Besson's "Lucy."
Lucy (Johansson) is an American girl living in Taiwan. She is not the brightest crayon in the box, but not the dimmest either. Like the rest of us, she only uses 10% of her brain capacity, but that changes when the local mob uses her as a drug mule by securing a new drug, CPH4, inside her stomach. The drug leaks into her body and her brain works in ways never before imagined. She gains the ability to use more of her brain's percentage, but the mob men want their product back and will kill anyone who gets in their way, including Lucy.
"Lucy" starts well, in fact it starts with quite a bang. If you are familiar with Luc Besson's work, then this should not come as a surprise. Once Lucy stats absorbing the CPH4 and we see her brain functions rise to 20%, 30% and so on (it is displayed on the screen), the movie starts to become more esoteric. Besson employs various kinds of imagery into this movie. There are shots from the animal kingdom as predators take down prey, the stars in the sky, brain cells at work, it goes all over. It's hard to tell if the movie wants to be more than what it is or in order to fully appreciate it, you need to be able to access 20% or higher of your brain functions.
While "Lucy" is far from being the best movie this summer, it does show Scarlett Johansson at her best. She is amazing in this movie. She has starred in some high octane movies lately, like earlier this year with "Captain America: The Winter Soldier." However, when you see her in those roles you may forget what an outstanding performer she is capable of being. She is believable in her role the second she appears on screen. When she's scared, she runs with that emotion. When the drug first takes effect, you can not only see a change in her right away, you can sense it. She is that damn good in this movie. There is no doubt this woman has an Oscar in her future.
Luc Besson must get credit for that too. The man has always been able to deliver some great action sequences and bring out great performances at the same time. "Lucy" has its share of great action scenes, but the stoppage in-between really feels like a stop. You may feel by the end that the movie veers off into absurdity, but then again, maybe you just need to be super smart to take it all in. It looks like an independent film with an unlimited budget. It is rated R for strong violence, disturbing images and sexuality.