Luc Besson’s Lucy tells the tale of a young student (Scarlett Johansson) in Taipei who is at the wrong place at the wrong time. Lucy is forced to become a drug mule after a Taiwanese mob inserts a bag of drugs (CPH4) into her body for transportation. Soon after, however, the bag starts leaking the drug into her system and her brain begins functioning beyond the capabilities of an average human's brain.
The film rests on the myth that humans use only 10% of their brain – so when the “CPH4” starts leaking into Lucy’s system, her brain begins the process of slowly using the other 90%.
Now, it’s all fiction, even the seemingly real live action animal shots that go on simultaneously to the film’s progression. A doctor who Lucy forces to take the bag of drugs out of her tells us that the mystical super drug is naturally created by pregnant mothers, and that the drug helps babies’ bones grow (not sure why it’s suddenly helping the brain, but okay).
Anyway, superhero Scar Jo sets off – making her way with revenge, crazy action CGI, and casual racism. Fictional professor Morgan Freeman lectures his class of students that finish writing their notes extremely fast about his theories on brain capacity, only to be sought out by Lucy. “I don’t know what to do with it all,” Lucy says upon realizing how much knowledge she holds. What have we done with all of the knowledge that we have since requited? What can we do with the other 90% that only Lucy has accessed?
Lucy tells us that humans are nothing, but we are also infinite. The film is enjoyable, in the “let’s ignore real life” kind of way, as most action films are. It’s funny at times, but most of its jokes are pretty racist (in one scene Lucy asks “Which one of you speaks English,” and she kills the one that doesn’t. Sorry girl, you’re in Taiwan, let go of the Western hegemony).
Lucy goes from feeling everything to completely losing her personality, leaving room for no true character development. However, I don’t think Besson made it a point in the film to stick to such formulaic film making ways. Since the film derived so much visually from his former work, I think that he was truly trying to make us experience something different.
Overall – I would say that film isn’t a must see, but it is an interesting take on a myth that ends up making you question the meaning of life. Definitely a watch at 2am on a wine night kinda film.
Lucy opens in theaters today – July 25.
Photo via monstersandcritics.com of Lucy film; trailer via YouTube.