written and directed by Luc Besson
Forty minutes or so into Lucy there’s a scene where Scarlett Johansson, playing the titular young woman, calls her mother on the phone. Her brain is evolving exponentially thanks to a drug overdose, but in the process she has begun to lose her humanity; she’s in fact becoming an entity with complete understanding of the universe. With visible effort, she tells her mom that she can “…feel the space, the air, the gravity… the rotation of the Earth… the blood running in my veins. I remember your hand on my forehead when I ran a fever… the taste of your milk in my mouth… the thousand kisses you gave me that I can still feel on my face.” It’s a great moment, and Johansson just nails it: The confusion, the awe, the simultaneous joy and sadness of what life means.
It’s also the only time that Lucy – a movie that writer/director Luc Besson (1990’s Nikita, 1997’s The Fifth Element) has called a cross between Inception (2010), 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968), and his own Léon: The Professional (1994) – rises above the silliness of its premise. For Lucy not only becomes omniscient, omnipotent and omnipresent, she also kicks Korean gangster ass with knives, guns, and sheer hotness, leaves the answer to all of mankind’s questions in a thumb drive, and even gets to meet the first Lucy, one of our oldest hominid ancestors. Hell, she’s one busy dame.
It sounds like a lot of fun, but it actually comes across as rather idiotic, with its nonsensical plot, lukewarm action sequences, and bizarre absence of stakes: Halfway through the film it becomes clear there’s no stopping this sexy goddess superheroine. Which I’m sure is exciting to Besson and probably several thirteen-year-old kids, but I’d rather catch up on my sleep.
Carlos I. Cuevas