Lucy is the latest film from writer/director/editor Luc Besson, and stars Scarlett Johansson as the titular character. Rooted in pseudo-sceince and belief, it is a film that falls more into science fantasy than science fiction.
The early parts of the film cut between the naive Lucy getting tricked and forced into being a drug mule by Mr. Jang (Min-sik Choi), Professor Norman (Morgan Freeman) giving a lecture on theoretical properties of expanded brain function, and short bursts of nature documentary footage. As the film continues on, it becomes a chase film with uncertain stakes and a superhero film of sorts.
Placing so much emphasis on the pseudoscience wouldn’t be too much of an obstacle if the characters were engaging, but Lucy goes from annoying twit to post-human too quickly to have any impact as a character. I never felt satisfied with the film since I never connected to any of the characters. The stakes are ill-defined, and the character actions and motivations seem driven by the need for the movie to continue rather than from believability.
While the film is certainly engaging moment-to-moment, and Besson’s command of action and tight edits is commendable (there is an amazing car chase in this film), it never amounts to anything that would stick with me. Too impressed with its own high concepts, it makes for a fun ride, but one devoid of any impact.
Masking pretension with confection is all about balance, and Besson never really pulls it off. Too talky for a proper action film, and the science fictional concepts are too abstract to have any impact. Lucy is something that is forgettable five minutes after you leave the theater.
Lucy opens today in area theaters.