Film Review – Lucy

I’m not going to lie. The Fifty Shades of Grey trailer that played right before this film began almost ruined it for me. I managed to stay in my seat, and I’m glad I did, because I had a thrill ride. Though, honestly, I expected nothing less from the writer/director of The Fifth Element (1997).

Meet Lucy, a student, who, after a weekend of partying with her new boyfriend, finds herself delivering a package for him. She accidentally becomes a pawn in a drug-smuggling ring, and when the package bursts inside of her, its contents open up her potential to become unstoppable.

I’m a film and literature nerd, not a science geek, so I am not sure as to how accurate the “sci” is in this sci-fi thriller, but Morgan Freeman is a powerful presence, and I’d believe almost anything he presented as fact. The story also makes it easy to put the questioning part of the brain on hold and just go with it. The plot moves quickly, and they managed to compile the data they want us to focus on into a moment’s lecture. Because who really has time for a long explanation? The blending of cerebral, science fiction elements with high action makes the film both conceptual and entertaining.

The visuals are stunning. We jump from inside the human body to the beautiful sights of Europe and even into outer space in seconds. The shots inside Lucy’s body both break up the action happening outside of her body and build tension as to the biological source of her next move. The pacing of these shots mirror the entire film. At only an hour and a half, not one second is wasted, and I much prefer this style than if the filmmakers had dragged it out another half-hour or so. The progression of Lucy’s abilities also reflects this fast pace and as they become more advanced, she physically has to do less. I find that as empowering, if not more so, for her character than just being able to beat up bad guys.

That being said, I was impressed with Scarlet Johansson’s performance. Her expressions and reactions to Lucy’s struggle with holding onto herself as she evolves into something else are on point. They may seem a little off or forced at first, but I think that is more of Lucy’s characterisation as she changes so rapidly, and that it’s intentional. As a reformed Johansson fan, I look forward to seeing her in films these days. And Morgan Freeman, well, there’s not much more to say about Morgan Freeman other than, “More. Always, please and thank you.”

Please don’t misunderstand my praise. This is by no means, an existential, slow-moving, indie science fiction film. It’s intended for mainstream audiences, and all elements reflect that, but that doesn’t mean it’s completely devoid of plot (trust me, there’s plenty). If you’re looking for something in the aforementioned style, check out the work of William Eubank (Love-2011, The Signal-2014). If you’re down for some plain, old, sci-fi entertainment, catch this one of the big screen. I feel like it will lose something in the translation to DVD.

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