Lucy: What You Need To Know
Director Luc Besson has been behind some weird and wonderful films over the years, from the brilliant French language comedy Taxi, through the excellent but controversial Léon to the downright weird sci-fi yarn The Fifth Element. His latest outing, Lucy, is another chapter in the director's off-kilter filmography, this time focussed on the idea of humans reaching their full potential. Here's everything you need to know...
Who's in it?
Scarlett Johansson starts as the titular protagonist, with a supporting cast that includes Morgan Freeman in the role of Professor Norman, as well as Min Sik Choi in the role of Mr. Jang. Fans of British TV series Green Wing and The Hour will also recognise Julian Rhind-Tutt, who goes in to bat as the token British character, named... wait for it... 'The Limey'. Yes, really.
What's the plot?
Lucy is in Thailand with her new boyfriend, a shady character involved with some unseemly criminal types, and it isn't long before Lucy gets a taste of what he's into. In a hotel lobby, he asks her to deliver a briefcase to one of his associates, Jang, in one of the hotel suites, offering her $500 to do so. Lucy isn't keen to carry out the task without knowing what's in the briefcase, but when she refuses he handcuffs the case to her wrist, leaving her with no choice. As she leaves the lobby, she witnesses her boyfriend being killed by a gang of henchmen and soon finds herself face to face with Mr. Jang, who says he has a job for her before knocking her unconscious.
When she awakes, she has a wound in her stomach and learns that she is to be one of a group of drug mules tasked with smuggling a new designer drug named CPH4, a bag of which has been sewn inside her. When one of the thugs kicks her in the stomach and the bag is ruptured, things start to get weird.
As it turns out, the drug's effects cause her brain to start developing beyond the usual 10% capacity that humans use, and as her brain capacity increases she starts to discover she has new and strange abilities. Escaping from the drug runners, she seeks advice from Professor Norman, whose field of expertise is the untapped potential of the brain, and what could happen if humans could exceed the standard 10% usage. What follows is the story of what happens to her as her brain slowly dials up its capacity as she continues to change and develop new abilities.
Does it deliver?
The first thing to say here is that Johansson's transition to action heroine is a pretty successful one, handling the superhuman persona mixed with the frightened young woman with some skill, and though Besson's work can often polarise opinion, all of his films employ some stunning cinematography and Lucy is no different in this regard.
The film is also an interesting hybrid between a straight-up action flick to something a bit more cerebral, especially as the film progresses and things start to get into the realms of metaphysics, exploring the concept of consciousness and the manipulation of matter. This is where it might prove a bit much for some audiences, as it takes on some Kubrick-like qualities towards the end, but credit where it's due; Besson always makes interesting films and there's a lot more imagination to this than many action flicks out there right now. If action films are your thing but you're open to something a little different, this is well worth a look.
Lucy is available in hmv stores from Monday 12th January