Expectation have been high for one of the more low key releases this summer with “Lucy.” Some might say it’s a rip-off of the Bradley Cooper “Limitless,” but “Lucy” delves so much further into controversial science topics that it is hard to maintain that comparison.
The film follows Lucy (Scarlett Johansson), a woman living in Taiwan who becomes an unwitting member of a drug ring. When they pack her stomach full of bags of a new synthetic drug, Lucy’s life takes a turn for the unbelievable.
We are also introduced to Professor Norman (Morgan Freeman) a scientist who specializes in brain research. Lucy contacts him as the drugs that have been released into her body begin to rapidly evolve her brains capabilities, and he arranges to meet and allow her to pass on the immense knowledge she is amassing by the minute.
The movie wastes no time in getting to the action. In less than half an hour, Lucy is made into a drug mule and well on her way to becoming the first real superhuman. Luc Besson, the director, never slows down from this point either. The nearly two hour run time flies by as Lucy makes jumps in her abilities, from controlling radio waves to people. It is the final scenes that make the real jump into science fiction, as the film dives into the idea of trans and post-humanism.
Johansson plays up Lucy’s loss of her humanity well. Lucy may have been a hysterical party girl pre-drugs, but once they begin advancing her cerebral capacity, she seems more robotic and less human, able to distance herself from fear and pain as she works to ensure her knowledge can be passed on, at the urging of Professor Norman.
Besson doesn’t always leave the camera on the action. As she advances, we are both with Lucy and Norman, as he teaches a class on the hypothetical findings of utilizing more than 10 percent of your brain, as Lucy does just that. There are images of animals, reflective of how we are both different and the same from them in our abilities. The title of the film is dual purposed as well, representing both our main character and the name given to the first humanoid ever discovered, a woman from 3.2 million years ago.
“Lucy” may have seemed like another action-movie for the summer season, but it advances far past that. Besson embraces the post humanism idea of humans reaching a “god-like” status in their advancement, and leaves the audience questioning what exactly happened to Lucy.
“Lucy” gets an A from me. It is well thought-out, visually stimulating and makes the audience think. There are a few places where question marks are the predominant response to what is happening, but overall the film leaves the audience with food for thought for a while. “Lucy” is rated R for string violence, disturbing imagery and sexuality.