With just about the same amount of subtlety as a rock hitting you in the face, Lucy tries to be a lot of things, misses spectacularly and still manages to be something entertaining.
I’m as confused as you are.
The basic premise is this: Lucy is an unassuming young woman who, due to her idiot boyfriend, is placed in a forced drug mule situation where the drugs are sewn into her stomach. However, due to a violent confrontation the bag breaks and the drugs seep into her body. The drug allows for her to access her entire brain and she must race against the clock to…. do something? Build a computer and give away information? Information that we’re never privy to.
There are also gratuitous shots of animals eating, giving birth and preying on the weak as a way to show the idea of humans being just like animals when it comes down to simple biological needs; Morgan Freeman saying things that aren’t actually scientifically proven; poor representation of minority characters; and a truly hilarious scene where Lucy is first affected by the drugs.
I guess it would have been naïve of me to think that it would be anything less considering Luc Besson’s past films, but boy is this a divisive movie. I still can’t determine if I loved the movie, hated the movie or was simply perturbed by the lack of logic in every frame of the entire film. Was it supposed to be batty hilarity? Were we supposed to take the message(s) seriously? After leaving the theater and driving home with my sister I mentioned how I had no idea how I was going to write about this film.
I can say this – Scarlett Johansson was wonderful and is having a killer year with her movie choices, and if anyone says that a female lead film can’t sell I hope people point to this film as a way to disprove that asinine and archaic theory. Johansson gives in to the absurdity of the film and plays the character with about as much gravitas as it demands and has a wonderful domineering physicality to her.
And the filmmaking? Well, here we get into the real root of the problem because it’s the direction that turns a serviceable action-packed summer fanfare film into something cheesy. It’s the way Besson intercuts the scenes of Lucy being abducted with a cheetah chasing a gazelle, the way he shoots Lucy’s high, the scenes where we are subjected to any type of time travel – all of it is done in a way that I can’t help but picture Besson sitting at home and using his Movie Maker on his computer. Nothing about the direction is compelling, nothing is new or fresh, and coming from the man who made the visually arresting The Fifth Element,this is a true disappointment. Johansson can’t carry the entire film on her back and some spectacle would have been welcomed. I have nothing wrong with the premise, the acting or the way the story was planned to be told; it’s the poor execution that truly causes the film’s detriment.
Is it worth seeing? I don’t know, but I’m glad I supported it. Female-lead science fiction is a rarity and I’d love to see more of it, but next time let’s cross our fingers for someone with a cohesive story on their mind and the right amount of conviction to follow it through.
Lucy is in theaters now.