Director: Luc Besson
Lucy (Johansson) is a drifter, aimlessly travelling the world. Whilst staying in Taipei, she finds herself tricked into delivering a briefcase to a drugs gang by her supposed boyfriend, only to find herself kidnapped and forcefully recruited as one of their mules. With a parcel of drugs stitched in her belly that slowly begins to leak, she discovers that her senses are heightened, her reactions are sharper and slowly she is using more and more of her brain. Finding a controversial scientist (Freeman) on the internet who has theorised about the potential for harnessing the brain’s power, she heads to meet him while the drug lords follow in hot pursuit, wanting their drugs back.
On the one hand, you can argue that Lucy is so left-field that once you’ve suspended your disbelief, you can accept almost anything... But that doesn’t excuse an almost irrelevant plot that plays out like a superhero origin story, but without the payoff of a superhero at the end. And more frustrating than anything is just how strongly the film starts. The drugs storyline is compelling and hugely entertaining to begin with, but after twenty minutes becomes redundant, despite their continued insistence on have the drug lords pursue Lucy. In fact, in its relatively short ninety minutes, the film wastes big chunks of its precious runtime on fiddly loose ends that, in the grand scheme of things, are pointless.
The concept behind Lucy could have been a mind-bending Inception-esque thriller, but instead ended up more like Resident Evil.Though I’d love to see Johansson in more movies like these, the film did her a disservice, asking her to mostly play a Terminatorstyle zombie, while Morgan Freeman’s equal billing with Johansson feels like an insult, seeing as he probably filmed his scenes in under a week. However, some kudos should go to the editor who sliced together footage of nature and evolution that illustrates Freeman’s lectures in the early portion of the film , making them snappy, fresh and fascinating. But then any kudos from that should be taken away again for the terrible SFX showing brain synapses and cell activity, feeling like a dated Fight Club rip-off. I can’t help but wonder what this film would have been like with a whole different writer and director, but as it stands, Lucy is nothing but a late summer sci-fi pulpy mess.