Scarlett Johansson has been very busy indeed, this being the fourth I’ve seen starring her this year. She’s fearless in her choices; which leads to some amazing films (Her), but also leads to films with interesting premises that have a lacking final product (Under the Skin). Lucy falls into the latter category.
My overriding feeling upon watching Lucy was bafflement. Usually I can check Wikipedia, have a sleep, and my thoughts solidify. Not in this case. I’m not sure another week of sleeping would help me either.
Perhaps this is due to the film being quite different to what I expected. Maybe it’s because I wanted to like it but found myself deflated and confused after.
Luc Besson has crafted a visually arresting film, and seems aware it’s based on an interesting but daft central conceit. Lucy’s increasing brain power is displayed as a percentage throughout the film, alongside a Matrix-esque view of the world. It’s no slouch to look at, even though some scenes just seemed odd.
Morgan Freeman performs exposition, explaining how using more than 10% of our cognitive capacity would affect our world. To be fair he’s pretty damn good at that. Johansson is the living embodiment and proof of those ideas after a drug she was smuggling is released into her system. She then heads off on a journey of revenge and discovery.
Lucy has several scenes that raised a chuckle and uses your preconceptions to surprise at points. Moments showcasing Lucy’s new abilities subvert what you thought was going to happen, though there is still action. Ultimately though I’m not sure mashing together everything from The Matrix to 2001 is successful.
This isn’t the first story that looks at untapped human potential and it won’t be the last. If you’re at all interested in the idea then you should check it out. I’m glad I saw it, but it has left me completely stumped. Is it brilliant and I’m only using 1% of my brain? Or is it as stupid as my original impressions led me to believe?
Due to my confusion, I can’t put my thumb up or down, so I’ll do a hand wave instead. Maybe in time my mind will unlock the rest of this films potential.