Lucy is an English-language 2014 film by Luc Besson (catching five minutes of it you couldn’t really be in any doubt!). It stars Scarlett Johansson and Morgan Freeman. There’s also a guy who’s totally Evil Korean Gary Oldman. Runtime is about an hour and a half, so it’s a fast watch.
First up, this film is gorgeous. You know this already because I said “Luc Besson“. It also references Kubrick, which we all like to see. Except instead of slavishly apeing* him like Refn‘s prone to (e.g. Drive or Valhalla Rising), here we get Kubrick-by-reference. An ape to open, evolution of the human, fast black-on-white title card inserts. Admittedly I’m barely familiar with his back catalogue, yet from what I have seen the film itself is so Besson. Glorious high colour, gangsters, guns, female protagonist, etc.
Following up on that last point, ScarJo wa ScarJo desu. They paid for blonde, flat, Scarlett Johansson and that’s what they had her do. I’m not a massive fan of hers, but she turns in solid performances. Ghost World was good, her Black Widow works well, yet I’ve never watched a film because she was in it.
Know this. There is a scene with a guy reading a newspaper which is a masterpiece of action editing.
Anyhow, the film itself is concerned with a superdrug which allows humans to exploit more that just the usual 10% of their brain function. This means that Lucy, ScarJo‘s character, is effectively super-powered. More human than human, if you will. So far, so rote, right? Maybe. There’s some good action, gunplay and drama throughout. Towards the very end Lucy finds herself sat in a chair. I have a thing for chairs in fiction. Chairs have power, be they thrones or the chair from Iain M Banks‘ Use Of Weapons. Chairs speak.
MASSIVE SPOILERS IN THE NEXT PARAGRAPH
I wrote this post whilst watching the film, hence the chronological structure and reactive language. I mentioned Kubrick above, little suspecting how the film would end. Lucy in the chair is diamond. She effectively becomes omniscient Metron from Jack Kirby‘s Fourth World (with nicer legs). She reaches out Michelangelo-style to our opening ape and we see The Creation Of Adam as it happens. The film which till now has focussed upon Besson‘s usual touchstones and the deft reclamation of tropes borrowed by The Matrix films and their imitators genre-shifts at the last into what I accused it of being earlier, i.e. a response to Stanley Kubrick (specifically 2001: A Space Odyssey). Clever, nonsensical, distinctive stuff.
MASSIVE SPOILERS END
Definitely watch if half-interested. It’s got more character than most similar film and a twist which isn’t really.
As a postscript/addendum I have to say that Luc Besson‘s comic adaptation The Extraordinary Adventures Of Adele Blanc-Sec is absolutely excellent. You’ve almost certainly caught part of it on Film4 whilst channel-hopping. It’s like an early 1900s French Tomb Raider and I cannot sing its praises enough. Proper weird in places, humane in others, Besson throughout. Well worth a viewing, take it from me.
*yeah, I went there