Review by Saumya Chandra
Science fiction movies are a rapidly trending genre in Hollywood made even more fascinating when paired with some action and adventure. This time it comes in the form of a new thriller by Luc Besson, a veteran French filmmaker, who is known for his unconventional and rather adventurous creative efforts. Although well-intentioned, his movies are known to range from daring to disappointing with the movie Lucy falling somewhere midway in the spectrum.
An action movie predicated on a scientific fallacy, Lucy revolves around the concept that human beings use a mere ten percent of their total brain capacity. Besson wonders that if humans were to unlock the entire hundred percent of their brain capacity, what would the result be? This forms the plot of the action thriller Lucy which stars prominent actors like Scarlett Johansson, Morgan Freeman, Min-sik Choi and Amr Waked.
The film starts off by presenting Lucy, played by Scarlett Johansson, as an average and innocent schoolgirl who is manipulated by her nasty boyfriend into taking a locked case to a high-end hotel asking for a Mr. Jang. Mr. Jang turns out to be an evil drug dealer who literally washes his opponent’s blood off his hands after dispensing some rough justice. Unfortunately for Lucy, the locked case is full of several bags containing a newly created drug of unbelievable power. Lucy is forced into being a drug mule and has to submit to a bag of the drugs being sewn into her stomach.
Meanwhile, a Paris based professor, Samuel Norman, who appears to be one of the leading experts on human brain, is shown to be giving lectures about how humans use so little of their brain capacity. On the other side, the bag of drugs breaks open in Lucy’s stomach and the overdose stimulates her brain into an evolutionary process that enhances all her senses as well as her cognition and memory to superhuman levels. However this comes at a price and Lucy quickly becomes aware that the drug overdose will kill her in 24 hours. Amidst the various action sequences and revenge confrontations that follow, Lucy turns to Professor Norman to find some meaning of her rapidly dwindling life.
While the psychedelic action thriller, Lucy, may not have the best plot, Scarlett Johansson’s charismatic presence as well as effortless acting carries the film well and goes so far as to bridge Beson’s narrative and logical lapses. Fully embracing the character, Scarlett very realistically depicts the psychological transformation of Lucy from an average schoolgirl to a girl with superhuman abilities and acquiring audience’s empathy in the process.
Besson, as a director, has a core of sincerity that drives his films. That coupled with his appreciation for strong female characters has led to the creation of Lucy. In spite of his best efforts though, Lucy falls short of its goal as science fiction and remains firmly in the realm of science fantasy. It may not win any prizes, but for those willing to accept the idea that humans use only 10% of their mental capacity, Lucy is certainly fun and engaging. It is certainly recommendable for a one-time watch!