“Without time, we don’t exist”. Scarlett Johansson stars in Luc Besson‘s new action thriller, Lucy. While the name of the film may be simple, the narrative is anything but.
Lucy is a 25 year old woman who is studying in Taiwan. She unexpectedly gets caught up in a drug ring after being tricked by her boyfriend, and has to deliver a briefcase, handcuffed to her, to Korean mafia leader Mr Jang. It briefcase contains four packets of a highly valuable synthetic drug called CPH4. She is then abducted and beaten against her will, and when she awakes, Mr Jang informs her that she and three other men have each had a packet of the drug sewn into their stomach, so that they can board plans to Europe and distribute the drug.
While being held in a form of quarantine period before being sent to Europe, a thug tries to rape Lucy. When she hits him with a metal chain, he beats and kicks her to a pulp, causing the packet of CPH4 to leak inside into her body. As a result, she begins to gain superhuman abilities such as incredible physical strength, telekinetic powers and eventually the ability to transport herself back hundreds of billions of years to before the earth was formed. All of the powers that she acquires become proof that Professor Samuel Norman’s (Morgan Freeman) theory that normal humans only use 10% of their brains power, and that humans would be capable of extraordinary things and be able to unlock all of the mysteries in the world.
For the first thirty minutes or so, Johansson is an emotional and trembling wreck, which is only natural considering the situation that she has found herself in. Her acting and presence commanded the attention of everyone in the cinema, peoples eyes were fixed on the close up shots of her pained and petrified face. However, when she undergoes her transformation from bloodied up girl to the female equivalent of Superman, she becomes increasingly robotic as she becomes more powerful and knowledgable. While she plays a robot very well, I wonder if Besson was harnessing her full potential by taking the character in that role?
Johansson is convincing from start to end, and essentially plays two entirely different characters. While that shows versatility, it is the narrative which causes problems. As captivating as the CGI and special effects are, the story becomes more and more silly as it progresses. The experience feels more like a 90 minute simulator ride in Disney World rather than watching a true action-thriller. The film begins so promisingly, but quickly deteriorates.
While Besson clearly used 100% of his brain power to write, direct and edit the film, unfortunately it does not require the viewer to use much more than 10% when watching it.
Lucy will be released in cinemas across the UK on 22 August, 2014.
Check out the trailer below: