<Review by: Sailesh Ghelani>
Directed by Luc Besson. Starring Scarlett Johansson, Morgan Freeman, Min-sik Choi, Amr Waked
I’ve not been a fan of Luc Besson films for a while now. They’re predictable with their French settings and stories based on father-daughter bonding. The last one I saw was 3 Days To Kill and that was pretty bad. But it seems Luc Besson has gotten philosophical or perhaps he’s just trying to reinvent himself with Lucy.
Do you remember the film Tree of Life, full of all that imagery of the universe and philosophising about life and the universe? Well Lucy takes a stab in that territory. It starts out in regular fashion with regular girl Lucy (Scarlett Johansson) being tricked into delivering a package to the very scary Mr Jang. And then she’s forced to smuggle a new fangled drug in her belly across continents. But the drug enters her system and ratchets up her brainpower.
Do you remember Limitless? No. Perhaps you need some CPH4 for your memory then. Well that film starring Bradley Cooper was about a guy who stumbles upon some ‘pills’ that let him use 100 per cent of his brain leading to dramatic consequences and ensuing drama. Lucy is the female version and one I found to be far more enjoyable solely for Scarlett Johansson’s performance.
I mean she’s seriously a great actor. From the get go she feels the character and emotes like a real person. The fear that ensues her capture by drug lord Jang is so real. There are no silly quips and barbs that you’d expect in a Hollywood film. She behaves exactly as you and I would in that situation. The focus to her role is unflinching as her brainpower goes from 10 to 20 to 50 to a supernatural 100 per cent and the film goes from being mildly unbelievable to completely ludicrous. You are willing to forgive the obligatory French cops and horrible French extras trying to act simply because Scarlett wills you to. Even Morgan Freeman doesn’t have that power.
Shots of the universe and dinosaurs that dot the film with some narration by Johansson about how humans have been around but really not achieved much finally come together at the end. What if we did use 100 per cent of our brainpower? Would we be better off or would we just create more ‘stuff’ to make our existence more meaningful? Or would we just enjoy ‘being’? Seems even more poignant considering that humans really haven’t come a long way from the barbarism and primitive nature. We may have even regressed a bit.
Lucy is a strange little film that should be watched if only to see how one fine actor can carry a really silly movie.