Film Review: LUCY (MA15+)

Lucy banner. Universal Pictures.

Lucy banner. Universal Pictures.

Lucy poster. Universal Pictures.

Lucy poster. Universal Pictures.

1 ½ stars

One problem with Lucy is that it simply starts and finishes in the blink of an eye. There’s no real introduction, nor is there a satisfying conclusion. It is a short film, only 89 minutes, however it still feels like less of a whole film than others that run similar lengths. Similarly to the Angelina Jolie film Maleficent, LUCY could’ve benefited from a longer running time to fully develop characters and plot points. That said, LUCY was still a waste of an hour and a half. As it was, any longer most likely wouldn’t have done anything to save it.

LUCY stars Scarlett Johansson (Her, Captain America: The Winter Soldier), and is written and directed by Luc Besson (The Fifth Element, The Family). It follows a young woman who inadvertently becomes caught up in an international drug smuggling plot.Through a series of most unfortunate events, the bag of drugs inside her breaks and she ingests half the bag. Her brain capacity begins to expand exponentially.

Lucy has an interesting science fiction concept. The idea that humans can go beyond their current brain capacity is a fascinating thing to explore, and it was done excellently in Limitless. Here, it is completely squandered in a sea of over the top consequences of tapping into that brain capacity, and a lack of rationalizing the science fiction ideas even within a world where this exists. It’s science fiction after all, so it doesn’t need to be justified in the real world but in the world of the narrative EVERYTHING needs to be logical and rationalized. LUCY abandons logic altogether, and stories do not work when your narrative world doesn’t have rules and boundaries.

Lucy. Universal Pictures.

Lucy. Universal Pictures.

Scarlett Johansson unfortunately fails to bring her A-game to the role of Lucy, but they may be partly the fault of the writing. Lucy is a terrible character whose plight, despite how ill fated, is unable to elicit sympathy. She goes from uninteresting to unlikeable and that’s not what you want from a leading heroine.Morgan Freeman also stars in this in a supporting role, but his talents are unforgivably wasted in a one-note role. His character does anything but attempt to explain the plot’s idiocy, simply further cementing the senselessness of it all.

Lucy. Universal Pictures.

Lucy. Universal Pictures.

LUCY seems to be trying to get across a message of humanity becoming better. “Life was given to us… what have we done with it?” is part of a line in the opening seconds of the film. It’s a theme that fits well with the idea of tapping into unknown human potential, but unfortunately the fact that said potential is reached because of immense drug intake pretty much dampens the value of that theme.

REVIEWER: David Thomas Williams.

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