Title: Lucy (2014)
Director: Luc Besson
Cast: Scarlett Johansson, Morgan Freeman, Min-Sik Choi
They are calling Lucy a “Stoner Film” and I would have to agree, the film does have an emphasis on abstract visuals, sometimes goint into what I like to call “trippy territory”, or what a more eloquent reviewer would call “surrealism”, these are dream like sequences in the film that don’t necessarily adhere to logic or reason. Luc Besson, the French director/producer/writer behind Lucy has always been a very eclectic type of director, and one of my favorites. He’s made all kinds of films throughout his career, for example, just recently he directed Robert Deniro and Michelle Pfiffer in The Family (2013). He’s also done dramatic films like Leon: TheProfessional (1994), which I still think is one of his best. The one film in Besson’s repertoire that made me think he was the right director for a film like Lucy was The Fifth Element (1997) primarily because The Fifth Element is such an effects driven film, and Lucy is most certainly an effect heavy film. The previews for Lucy got me excited because I love it when Besson does sci-fi, he always strives to show us something we’ve never seen before. He takes his imagination to new frontiers in his films, and I love that sense of escapism he infuses in some of them. So did Besson ‘wow’ us once again like he’s done with his previous films?
Lucy is all about a woman who is suddenly thrust into a world of drug trafficking, a world she knows nothing about. Yet as fate would have it she ends up as a courier, transporting an extremely powerful experimental drug that makes your brain function at 100% capacity. Problem is that the packet she’s carrying burst open inside of her body! Almost immediately the drug gets into her blood stream and it isn’t long before Lucy begins to experiment what it means to have your brain functioning at full capacity. She soon starts learning everything that the mind can achieve when it is in full power! She starts developing these amazing abilities that she didn’t know she had!
So this film has many good things going for it, first off, it’s all about the visuals, Lucy acquires amazing powers and starts using them, with each passing moment she becomes more and more powerful, which offers us these awesome moments where she displays her new abilities. That’s where the strength of the film is at, in the visuals. Lucy acquires amazing powers like telepathy and telekinesis! Also, in Lucy we go back in humanities history, we analyze humanity, where we began, what we’ve evolved into, why have we done what we’ve done with the planet and all that, which was cool, and of course, all these themes lend themselves for awesome effects that brought to mind scenes from Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey (1969), actually in more ways than one. Sure, there’s the surreal element, but also because it has to do with collecting all of humanities knowledge in one super computer, which immediately brought to mind the monolith from 2001: A Space Odyssey, which is also a super computer. Lucy’s plot about the experimental drug that enhances your brain brought to mind Limitless (2011) because both films play with the same idea, the only difference is that Lucy goes a bit further with the idea by entering into the realm of time travel and telekinesis.
The only real let down for me with this movie is that since it comes from Luc Besson, the director of The Fifth Element (1999), well, I was expecting something as epic and huge as The Fifth Element, but in reality, Lucy is actually a ‘small film’ with big ideas. As it is, I was expecting for the film to end with a bang, instead it ends with a whimper, and a promise of future films. It has that kind of open ending that leaves you with a huge question mark in your head. But overall, I had a blast with it, it just needed something extra to make it truly awesome. The ending leaves you wondering what’s next? Kind of like the ending for Highlander (1984) where you are left wondering what the main character is going to do with his new found powers and knowledge. What I’m saying a Besson fan might leave the theater feeling underwhelemed, but overall, Lucy’s an action packed film, with car chases, shoot outs, telekinesis, surreal imagery and thought provoking themes. Plus we have the ever beautiful Scarlett Johansson, who continues to amaze with her beauty and as a performer. I’m hoping they do make a sequel, I’d love to see where else they can go from here because I was left wanting more, which I’m sure was the filmmakers purpose from the get go.
Rating: 4 out of 5