LUC BESSON’S “LUCY” is a trippy grab-bag of movies, styles and pretensions about a woman whose brain capacity explodes from (we are told) the 10% that humans use to its full 100% capacity. The movie is the bastard child of Terrence Malick with Marvel Comics.
We meet Lucy (Scarlett Johansson acting as though she recently had a lobotomy) when she’s forced to carry a bag of CPH4 – the spark that creates DNA and life itself…but you knew that – in her stomach. Besson wants to get his fair share of the lucrative Asian market, so much of the initial action and all of the diabolical, sneering, ruthless but astonishingly incompetent bad guys are Taiwanese. One of these ruthless types kicks her in the stomach, the bag explodes and voila, knowledge and strange powers fill her fragile frame.
Since as we know, and Besson want us to remember, knowledge is power (Lucy’s kick in the stomach was a version of eating the apple). The more knowledge she gains of everything, the more her power grows. Morgan Freeman, still playing the voice of God, and here imitating a famous neuro-scientist, fills us in on what’s happening, since the brains of us poor viewers are still at that 10% capacity.
Besson wants to ensure that we really, really, understand what’s going on, so he backs up his story with multiple allusions (for instance, when Lucy, in her pre 100% power mode is being tracked, we cut away to a leopard tracking impala). These Terrence Malick gimmicks are meant to lend the movie an air “Quality Cinema”
As Lucy gains in her cerebral capacity, we whizz past “The Matrix” via “Inception” by way of “The Exorcist”; we reach “Under Her Skin”, past the crawling darkness of Tobey Maguire’s “Spiderman 3” and flash deep into the beginning of the Universe we saw in “The Tree of Life” (Lucy as your 10% of cerebral capacity knows is the name of the ape: ‘the original mother’ from whom we’re all descended)
Bad guys are sent to sleep when they threaten her (now there’s a super-power to be desired), she is able to change her hair colour at will and the more she grows in knowledge, the more nonplussed she looks. I think Scarlett’s expression was from a different script from the movie. In the movie her character became the sum of all knowledge, in her acting, she simply became more dumbed out with every frame
But, the good news – it’s all over in 90 minutes.
Can’t wait for the director’s cut