Lucy (2014) Film Review by Gareth Rhodes

Lucy (2014) Directed by Luc Besson. With Scarlett Johansson, Morgan Freeman and Choi Min-shik.

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Written and directed by French film maker, Luc Besson – Lucy is a mind-bending science-fiction action film starring Scarlett Johansson as a woman who is unwittingly exposed to a drug (CPh4) which gives her access to untapped brain power. It is commonly said that we human beings use just 10% of our potential brain capacity –  Besson has a great deal of fun showcasing what might happen if the other 90% were to be unlocked.

Amid the draw of the high concept, Besson opts to set his film up against the backdrop of underground crime as the mysterious Mr. Jang (Choi Min-shik) is introduced as a (kind of) Korean version of Gary Oldman’s character in Leon. From there, the film fires its boosters, throwing itself headlong into its own mayhem, adding the credibility of Morgan Freeman in the role of a neurological researcher to help validate the exposition.

Of course, after her experience playing Black Widow in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Johansson is on home turf in this kind of role – a role which requires her to look in complete control, while offing bad guys without so much as a bat of her pretty eyelashes. It is a testament to her ability that she can make it all look so effortlessly convincing.

With 1994’s Leon as a shining example, Luc Besson has previously demonstrated more than an adeptness for delivering thrilling action, and he briefly recaptures some of that magic here, albeit without the crucial emotional gravity of his signature film.

With all of its wacky ideas in tow, Lucy is one of those films that you are better off just going along with. The action is well-staged (one car chase through Paris looks particularly impressive) and everyone involved commits themselves. It does go utterly bonkers, at times, but if your’e along for the ride, you’ll probably enjoy the madness. 3/5

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About garethrhodes

Full-time lover of all things creative.
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15 Responses to Lucy (2014) Film Review by Gareth Rhodes

  1. dreager1 says:

    This is a film that I’ll likely be seeing at some point. It didn’t look quite good enough for theaters, but the concept is certainly good. I have heard that the science involved is a little wonky, but this is a sci-fi so I think that it’s passable. Sounds like it’s still a good enough film to look into as I don’t see myself giving it above your score myself.

    • garethrhodes says:

      Yes, like I said, it’s utterly bonkers and the science is absolutely all over the place – but I guess that’s why we call it science-fiction. A lot of people dismissed it, but I found it to be very entertaining on a certain level. I think you were right to avoid it at the cinema. It’s one for home viewing with a bag full of nachos and a bottle of Coke.

  2. gregl85 says:

    I wasn’t sure what to make of this from the trailers. I agree that it wasn’t enticing enough for me to fork out my hard-earned for cinema tickets, but I’ve got a soft spot for Besson so I’ll definitely give it a go at some point.

  3. Kgothatjo Magolego says:

    I really didn’t enjoy this film. I couldn’t go along with it because the second Lucy starts unlocking her brain she loses all her humanity. She kills people without guilt or remorse. The transformation from sniveling damsel to badass terminator is to sudden and because there’s no emotion, I couldn’t connect with her. It also felt like a national geographic documentary at times. But I’m glad you enjoyed it, good review.

    • garethrhodes says:

      It is crazy, and I completely understand you taking against it. It is audacious and silly, but I found myself swept along with the daftness in the name of fun. It helps that I have become a fan of Scarlett Johansson, over the past few months. Thank you very much for your contribution, it’s always great to get the opposing view.

  4. The film did really good in France and Europe as well in the States. I loved it myself. Nice review.

    • garethrhodes says:

      Yes, I noticed that the box office number were huge. It makes me wonder why Marvel haven’t taken stock of that and green-lit a Black Widow film already. All the pieces are in place for it to happen.

  5. movieblort says:

    I heard this was awful, but I’m tempted to chalk this up to unrealistic expectations. Your review seems to hint there is at least something worth watching in it, so I’ll probably give it a go in due course.

    • garethrhodes says:

      I wouldn’t argue with anyone who said this film was awful. In parts, it plainly is – but I also think it works fine as a throwaway slice of b-movie fun. Plus, Scarjo is eminently watch-able.

  6. I think I was one of the few that enjoyed this film! It was crazy and unique and Scarlett never fails to impress.

    • garethrhodes says:

      My guilt of liking it is tempered by the 66% fresh rating it has on Rotten Tomatoes. There’s no escaping that it’s a load of rubbish, but sometimes that’s exactly what we’re in the mood for. I liked it enough to pass 80-odd minutes. Plus, like you say, Scarlett is reason enough to rejoice.

  7. Chris Evans says:

    Another one on my list, the trailer has me drooling at ScarJo so I was sold at that point but Luc Besson gives it added appeal. Like you say it’s probably just best to ‘go’ with this one and I’ll try not to hold it up against the likes of Leon and Nikita, nice review mate!

  8. Ben says:

    I enjoyed it in the beginning but then it began to lose it’s way. I’m not sure what it was trying to do with the final ten minute sequence but it just didn’t seem to reach the potential it demonstrated in the first act of the movie.

    • garethrhodes says:

      I can see why this one divides opinion. There’s no doubt that there are some very audacious ideas going on here – but I liked that it went a little mad, in the end.

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