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Wednesday, August 6, 2014
Review: Lucy (Luc Besson, 2014)
Lucy is the latest film from French writer/director Luc Besson. Besson, who directed the incredible Leon: The Professional and sci-fi cult favourite The Fifth Element back in the mid 90’s, has been a more prolific screenwriter and producer in recent years. Mostly involved with mediocre action films. His last two directorial efforts were the critically reviled The Lady and The Family. But, with Lucy, he is back in exciting form, creating an absurdly ambitious and defiantly goofy action sci-fi, bringing high-concept universal and existential hypothesizing to the crime thriller genre. With a kick-ass heroine who evolves from hapless captive to skilled super-entity, Bresson’s colourful and inventive visual style and obscure sense of humour gives this a unique and bizarre tone. Think of it as a blend of Salt and The Tree of Life, with more than a few Limitless ingredients.
The aptly cast Scarlett Johansson (Lost in Translation, Under the Skin), whose roles this year are becoming more interesting by the film, stars as Lucy, a 25-year-old American woman living in Taipei. She is tricked by her dodgy boyfriend into becoming a drug mule, and is captured by the associates of a Korean drug kingpin named Mr Jang (Choi Min-sik, Oldboy). When she is brought before him she learns that she was carrying a highly valuable synthetic drug called CPH4, an advanced version of a toxin that assists the growth of a fetus in the womb. A bag of the drug is sewn into her abdomen and she is forced to transport it to Europe for sale. When she is held captive and beaten, the drugs are released into her system and she develops enhanced physical capabilities and powerful mental abilities. She can no longer feel pain, absorbs large volumes of information immediately and can perform telekinesis, just to begin with. She discovers that she will never survive without replenishment, so she sets about retrieving the other bags and makes contact with Prof. Samuel Norman (Morgan Freeman), whose research makes him a candidate to explain to her just what is going on.