© Universal Pictures International Germany GmbH

France 2014

Opening 14 Aug 2014

Directed by: Luc Besson
Writing credits: Luc Besson
Principal actors: Scarlett Johansson, Morgan Freeman, Min-sik Choi, Amr Waked, Julian Rhind-Tutt

Frenchman Luc Besson is known for stylized films such as La Femme Nikita (1990) and The Fifth Element (1997), which he directed, as well as the Taken (2008, 2012, 2015) and Transporter (2002, 2005, 2008) series, which he wrote, and he continues in that vein with his newest film, Lucy. Scarlett Johansson stars as a not-too-smart party girl studying in Taiwan who accidentally gets mixed up with some very dangerous criminals. She is made into a drug mule against her will, but when the drugs that have been surgically implanted in her stomach begin to leak, her life is altered forever.

The film is based on the notion that humans only use a small percentage of their total brain capacity, and Besson wanted to explore what would happen if an “average girl” suddenly gained access to that unused capacity: would she develop super-human traits, become connected with everything around her, change the world? It is certainly an interesting premise, and Johansson does a great job selling Lucy’s transformation from scared, clueless girl to superhero warrior. However, Besson and team are not consistent in their application of Lucy’s growing abilities in the plot; for example, if Lucy can levitate, why can’t she fly, and why does she need to drive a car at top speeds the wrong way down many, many one way streets in Paris (other than to have an excuse for a cool-looking high-speed car chase)?

I don’t mind suspending disbelief for high-concept films, but the concept has to be applied consistently. Unfortunately, good acting and great visuals don’t compensate for what is ultimately a crazy plot. Even though Lucy is only a short 89 minutes, by the end of the film, it feels like the viewer has sat through a little too much evolution in real-time. (Kirsten Greco)

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