There’s a lot of talk about the science in Lucy; it’s bogus and admittedly a little silly as presented, but there’s a lot of ideas that are fun to think about Ideas worth further exploration. This film is one of only a couple I can think of that does that. The premise that drugs could open a threshold to tapping into the limitless potential of our minds is, and our undeniable connection to the universe is not a new one but remains as purely wishful thinking. The idea that we only use 10% of our brains is not accurate but is a mythology that continues to persist. After all, humanity has been experimenting with drug use since before recorded history. If drugs provided a way to unlock some hidden superpower-inducing abilities, how to achieve it would be widespread knowledge by now and a readily accessible part of the public domain.
Silly science aside, Luc Besson’s Lucy is, for me, a delightfully entertaining example of his work and his distinctive style born out of the French New Wave cinema sometimes referred to as Cinema du look. Besson’s ability to tell stories by way of a film is nearly unmatched these days, making him one of the world’s most admired living filmmakers. Not only is he an excellent director, but he’s also a talented screenwriter and producer as well. The French have made a worthy contribution to genre films, and Besson is one of the main reasons.
If you aren’t familiar with the film, Lucy is a 2014 English-language French science fiction action film written and directed by Luc Besson for his company Europacorp. Filmed in Taipei, Paris, and New York City, it stars Scarlett Johansson, Morgan Freeman, Choi Min-Sik, and Amor Waked. Johansson portrays the title character, a woman who gains psychokinetic abilities when an accident introduces a nootropic drug into her bloodstream.
Scarlett is a big reason this film works; she has proven how well she can perform in physically demanding roles. Her portrayal of Black Widow in Marvel’s The Avengers franchise has done her work in part one. The most liked character depictions in contemporary genre films. Her physical attractiveness and presence on screen are undeniable.
I love this story. Lucy is a whirlwind ride about Scarlett’s drug-fueled odyssey to reach her brain’s full potential and keep a date with the cosmos. Another reason I love this film is its exploration of and portrayal of psychic abilities and the limitless potential of the mind we may all inherently possess, to some degree or another, and how the movie’s narrative embraces it as a subject worth considering. While I don’t believe drug use can suddenly open up new hidden abilities, that doesn’t mean I think these capabilities don’t exist. Abilities like telepathy and telekinesis may someday enjoy widespread acknowledgment. It’s plain fun to think about, and seeing it portrayed on screen is a hoot.
The story provides an enjoyable opportunity to discuss the limitless theoretical potential of our minds and our undeniable connectivity to the universe that gave us birth and provides the basis of our existence. I love the vast and cosmic implications of this film.
The film has an almost relentless sequence of action and violence that is compelling, engaging, entertaining, and amusing at times. Besson has always shown a flair for capturing action scenes well on film, along with the ability to make them delightfully and memorably fun and unique.
The supporting cast in the film is excellent. Amr Waked Is amusing and thoroughly convincing as the French cop that ends up as Lucy’s traveling companion for part of the film. Likewise, Min-Sik Choi oozes a certain dark charm as the evil crime boss. Of course, Morgan Freeman is always a welcome addition to any production; he provides the voice reason this time around, an anchoring element to counterbalance the film’s fantastical events.
It’s interesting to note that Lucy has a higher rating with critics (67%) than it does with fans (47%) on Rotten Tomatoes. Who’s got it right? A sequel is on the way.