Lucy (Scarlett Johansson from “Under The Skin”) is an ordinary party girl living in Taiwan and hooking up with the wrong guys. The last one made her drop off a package to some bad people. So bad, they turned her into a drug mule and surgically implanted their new synthetic compound in her abdomen. When the drug pouch ruptures, a massive overdose enters her system and starts an evolutionary chain reaction in her body.
Lucy gets smart, real smart. She starts to use more and more of her brain, tapping into the uncharted capabilities. The contrived character of Professor Norman (Morgan Freeman from “Oblivion”) spends most of the movie making sure we have a scientific basis for what we are seeing. I felt like there was going to be a test at the end of the movie.
Lucy uses her newfound knowledge and skills to take revenge on the criminals that made her this way, instead of using it for math, or science or the arts. Also, as she becomes a super human, she loses her humanity. She becomes emotionless and the fun party girl is gone.
Writer/Director Luc Besson (“The Family”) has put together themes and characters from his two best movies. Lucy is the magical pinnacle of life, much like Leloo from “The Fifth Element,” and she drives like Frank Marin from “The Transporter.” Besson’s writing is generally great, but his direction… not so much. With “Lucy,” he adds editorial images along with the narrative. He can’t just tell the story, he has to tell you what the story is about and what to think about it using cinematic flashcards.
I am willing to accept the kaleidoscope of imagery as style, but at the end of the 83-minute film I felt cheated. I could see all the plot points as if they were up on the Professor’s chalkboard, but the humanity of the story was lost. This makes it more of a pure sci-fi flick, even though you were on non-stop roller coaster ride. I enjoyed the ride, and it was thrilling, but I think there is more to life.
I am not a snob about these things, and I did like this movie. It’s a popcorn movie with an old school Star Trek-style plot, and for that I will give it 3 stars out of 5. Somehow they took the sexy out of Scarlett Johansson, and that’s an evolution I am not looking forward to.
Tom Basham is an indie filmmaker. Here is a link to his movie review site: http://bashmovies.wordpress.com