Friday, January 2, 2015

Movie Review: Lucy

Over the past few years director Luc Besson has proved only one thing – that he literally does not give a tinker’s cuss about anyone who watches his films. That particular observation could be made by anyone who first watched La Femme Nikita, then became his admirer after seeing Leon and The Fifth Element, and then proceeded to see the films he has made over the past ten years.

Besson, much like Resident Evil’s Paul Anderson realized that there is an audience out there who somehow appreciates easy drivel that doesn’t need much effort to make. He’s been churning out one half-baked product after another ever since. He even produced a series of half assed films under his banner. Lucy, the latest from the filmmaker is exactly what you expect it to be – a lame superheroine movie.

The thing with Lucy is, it tries very hard to be as stupid as possible. And it does so by showing stuff to us that is supposed to be smart. Case in point, the ham handed attempts at pointing out the parallels between humans and animals. It goes all Tree of Life on us by showing us the Neanderthal Man. And when our protagonist is being captured by goons we see footage of a lion going for his kill. Real subtle.

The lack of subtlety isn’t as much a problem as the lack of an original or smart story. In Lucy the central character (played by Scarlett Johanson) gets injected with a drug that makes her smarter. And by smarter I mean literally, more cerebral. We’re told that a human being only uses about 7% of his brain in his lifetime, and the drug activates Lucy’s dormant parts of the brain. As the drug’s potency increases we’re given battery percentage of her brain and she does more and more amazing superhuman things. That would have been a fine plot device had Lucy not manipulated things out of thin air. There was no need to justify increased brain activity to perform metaphysical stunts – Besson could have just made her a superhero due to some otherworldly drug. Maybe he needed to use more than 7% of his brain to make something worthwhile.

The acting is all round awful, with Morgan Freeman doing his best Morgan Freeman impression – that of a scholarly old timer who shows up to give the troubled protagonist a life changing cathartic advice. Johanson is as usual fine to look at for sure, but her shift from a ‘normal’ girl to a superhuman isn’t very new. She basically becomes Black Widow from The Avengers. If you’re looking for a good Scarlett Johanson movie, you’re better off watching Under the Skin instead.  

(First published in MiD Day)

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