Monday, 2 February 2015


Luc Besson is one of the world’s most beloved filmmakers, but in order to find his last truly great film you have to go quite far back. Arguably, Taken was Besson’s last hit, but to find his last great film, only The Fifth Element stands out. So it would make sense that he would return to his roots with Lucy, rediscovering what his niche is and exploiting it for all its worth. And he almost did it. 

Directed by Luc Besson and out now on Blu-Ray and DVD comes Lucy. When Lucy (Johansson) is sent into a building with a briefcase by her boyfriend she begins a series of events that will not only change her life forever, but humanity’s entire way of thinking. After a series of completely unnecessary but stylish scenes, Lucy ends up ingesting a drug, CPH4, that rapidly increases her “cerebral capacity” (the most overused phrase in a film ever). Lucy begins to adopt superhero-like powers – time-manipulation, messing with gravity, and becoming skilled at weapon-handling. As Lucy deteriorates, the only thing that can save her is more of the drug, found inside three other initial drug mules. The only problem is the drug manufacturer also wants them back.

On the face of it, Lucy is a film that suggests a crazy action film, which is exactly what fans of Besson want. They want a Leon with a female lead - but the action is few and far between. Every fight is so one-sided that we stop guessing who’s going to win and bet all our savings on Lucy. We might as well be watching Frieza fight Krillin. The fight scenes are just scenes with Lucy walking into a seemingly one-sided fight and using a newly acquired superpower to dispatch of them quickly. Besson does give us some relief during a fire-fight in a corridor, filled with awesome, jaunty shots and countless expendable bodies just waiting to get imaginatively shot down, but it doesn’t help pay off the tedious 60+ minutes we’ve had to sit through to get there.

Every scene just seems like an excuse to show off yet another ludicrous power that Lucy has attained. We meet her roommate for no reason except to show that Lucy can now see inside bodies, which was a shame because her roommate, wonderfully played by Analeigh Tipton (Crazy, Stupid, Love), was the only believable character that was remotely relatable. Morgan Freeman played himself, spouting off wisdom as if it could be turned on via tap, Amr Waked (Syriana) manages to make Stockholm Syndrome look enticing, and poor Julian Rhind-Tutt (Rush) is an opportunity missed, getting minimal screen-time as a flamboyant drugs travel coordinator.

The entire film is an opportunity missed by over exaggeration. It starts off well, thrusting Lucy into a whole new world and bringing us with it, but she adapts a lot quicker than we do. As she is learning more than we can in our lifetime, we’re still wondering why the hell she was in Taiwan in the first place. Johansson accelerates the character well, adapting and changing from one character to another quickly, occasionally offering glimpses at the old Lucy, triggering sympathy from us, but it’s all glossed over to allow for more pretentious shots of the galaxy with clichéd narration from Freeman spoon-feeding us false information. The only thing keeping us watching until the end is Lucy and what will happen to her, and when we get there, we’re left feeling hollow when we should be having an epiphany.

If Lucy approached itself sardonically, it would be a great film. It could pass off all the boring and scientifically laughable bits as a mockery of itself, which in turn would make us laugh and forgive – but sadly, it doesn’t. Lucy attempts to inspire questions within you, to provoke your ideals and challenge them, but it doesn’t, it just leaves you wondering what to watch next.

Lucy doesn’t achieve its full potential and gets a 2/5.


Jonny Naylor

Lucy at CeX

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