Movie Review: 'Lucy' (2014)

Lucy Movie Poster, Review
When it comes to Luc Besson’s illustrious filmography you will find a plethora of cinematic treats. From “La Femme Nikita” to what is arguably his best film, “Leon: The Professional” to last year’s “The Family,” he has supplied a bevy of entertainment throughout his career. “Lucy” joins the annals of his previous work’s entertainment quotient.

There are elements, depending on expectations, that resound with differing effect. The science fiction theory that serves as the basis for the story is deeply flawed, to put it mildly. Why for instance a person could grow out their hair, alter its color, and change outfits by using the full function of their brain, requires a vast suspension of disbelief.

The film’s opening moments introduce viewers to Lucy (Scarlett Johansson) a vibrant personality, who is tricked into carrying a mysterious silver briefcase to its intended target by her grubby boyfriend. After delivering the package to its recipient (a psychopathic drug lord) she is kidnapped and brutally forced to be a drug mule. When the package breaks internally, she is exposed to the mega powerful drug giving her brain a super-charge. 

Distracting the narrative early on, are cutaways to nature footage that doesn’t visually correspond to the on-screen happenings. The intro itself is jumbled and hyperactive to the point of disruption. Getting to the point where Lucy is capable of defending herself, takes too long to develop.

Lucy Movie Poster - Teaser
It’s downright painful to witness the violence perpetuated against her, and when it comes time for her to reap her vengeance, it is not nearly the comeuppance, the villains deserve. Hand-to-hand combat or fight choreography is virtually absent during the film’s run.

The thing that makes “Lucy” work is the beguiling performance of Scarlett Johansson. Tough, intelligent, and armed with perseverance, Johansson brings the essence of Lucy to life with a lightning bolt of charisma.

She vests the film with its heart, and the likability factor necessary, to care about Lucy’s plight from beginning to end. Morgan Freeman brings the brains and intellect of the story to sagacious levels as a professor. Freeman's articulation of the details almost makes the science described, believable.

Similar to early 2014's “Transcendence” - “Lucy” follows down the track of enlightenment at any cost. The film’s melancholic verdict on the subject continues the sci-fi trend towards evolving at the expense of remaining human.

As much as films like “The Day the Earth Stood Still” and “Equilibrium” have celebrated both the beauty and flawed nature of being human, “Lucy” joins a batch of recent films that seem ready to scrap the concept entirely. What seems to be getting missed is you can’t be super-human without being, at least a little, human. 

Lucy is so endearing at the beginning of the film and at no point during her post-evolution does she recover her initial vivacious persona. Is losing what makes her, her, really worth achieving if she doesn’t have the same personality? It is the philosophical implications of this proposal that makes for further analysis, giving "Lucy" its thought-provoking redemption, amidst its proposed science.  Rating: 6.5/10

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