Lucy

Year of Release: 2014     Directed by Luc Besson.  Starring Scarlett Johansson, Morgan Freeman, Min-sik Choi, and Amr Waked.

We all know movie premises don’t have to make sense. A twenty-five foot great white shark stalking humans off the coast of Cape Cod isn’t exactly realistic. A composer plotting to murder a rival and steal his magnum opus is absurd, especially when those two composers only met a couple times in real life. Yet Jaws and Amadeus are both in my personal top fifty.

All that is to say, I was totally on board with Lucy‘s very silly premise that humans only use ten percent of their brains, and after being kidnapped and forced to transport a new drug, Lucy accidentally absorbs the drug which unlocks her brain’s full potential. I actually enjoyed the scenes in which the film set up that premise. When the film refused to follow it through with any consistency, I became increasingly irritated.

My biggest problem is that as Lucy (Scarlett Johansson) unlocks more of her brain’s potential, her decisions become increasingly stupid. For instance: why does she casually shoot and kill civilians and small time petty criminals, yet leave murderous drug lord and his hitmen alive so they can repeatedly chase after her and try to kill her? Or, when she’s about to conduct a massive experiment that will allow her to fully utilize her brain, why does she tell a small handful of police officers armed with pistols to secure the room against 25 thugs armed with machine guns, when she could easily disarm all the thugs and incapacitate them the exact same way she did in the previous scene? That way, the police could easily arrest them, and she could conduct her experiment in peace. I am aware Lucy is hard-pressed for time, but stopping the thugs would have taken her all of five seconds.

The conclusion of the film leaves open two distinct possibilities, which the film seems entirely unaware of. When Lucy’s brain reaches one-hundred percent capacity (that’s NOT a spoiler) she either becomes God and takes over control of the world, or there is a Doctor Who-esque twist in which she becomes able to manipulate time. Since the film does bring time travel into it, it raises the question of many time travel films: is time a continuous loop where our past actions affect our present lives, or has the loop been broken? There is no indication that the filmmakers gave this any thought at all.

Director Luc Besson maintains an intense pace and stages the action scenes with clarity, and I appreciated the inter-cutting of stock nature footage, which provided a refreshing change of scenery and helped make the premise conceivable. However, that hardly makes up for the utter inanity of the rest of the film.

 

Content Advisory: Much violence, some of it quite gory and disturbingly played for laughs; reckless disregard for human life, and a possible killing God theme (the film is too shallow for any theme to be definitive).                 MPAA rating: R

Suggested Audience: Adults with discernment

Personal Recommendation: C-

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