Friday, August 08, 2014

Movie Review - Lucy


Starring: Scarlett Johansson, Morgan Freeman, Min-sik Choi, Amr Waked, Julian Rhind-Tutt, Pilou Asbæk, Analeigh Tipton, and more.

Directed by: Luc Besson Written by: Luc Besson Cinematography by: Thierry Arbogast Music by: Eric Serra

Premise: Studying and partying overseas, Lucy gets forced by her new boyfriend to deliver undisclosed goods in a briefcase to a client. Then her boyfriend is killed before her eyes and Mr. Jang, Richard's client, abducts her. A new product is about to hit the market and Mr. Jang is making sure nothing goes wrong. So Lucy, with three others, is forced to have surgery so they can act as mules for delivering the new drug  into four other countries. When she slaps one of her captors for taking advantage, he stupidly beats her and ruptures the bag inside her. Rather than die of an overdose, Lucy's mind opens, using more of its potential. But the very drug that has opened her world is killing her, so the race to reach 100% brain use before she dies is on. Mr. Jang, however, is not to be thwarted so easily. (Rated R)


1) Acting - Total Thumbs Up: Scarlett Johansson should get an Oscar for her work on the first fifteen minutes or so of the film. There is never any doubt that she is a woman utterly terrified by the predicament she finds herself in. She literally shook with her character's fear. A truly amazing piece of acting on her part.

Later in the film, her awesome work in the beginning creates a masterful contrast to the calm, almost detached manner as her character changes. Min-Sik Choi gave me goose bumps. And in a fun turn, he's super calm and cold at the beginning, but by the end of the film he's a frothing madman. Amr Waked was fun as the French police captain caught in the whirlwind that is Lucy 2.0. Morgan Freeman was Morgan Freeman - need I say more?

2) Special Effects - Total Thumbs Up: The special effects teams did a great job on this film. From the cool cell subdivision sequences to the bubbling organic computer, there were lots of great visuals going on. They also did a great job playing with time and locations as the audience follows Lucy during different sections of her expanding mind. The disassembly of the buildings as time flowed backwards was a very nice sequence. Lucy losing cohesion in the plane was another great bit of CGI.

3) Plot/Story - Total Thumbs Up: Mr. Besson plays a lot with contrasts and contradictions in the film. As I touched on earlier, there's a swapping dichotomy between the character of Lucy and Mr. Jang. You can even see some the same play between Mr. Jang and Captain Pierre, as one can't accept and rebels against the current reality, while the other adapts. There's even a nice loop effect is woven in with regards to Lucy's name.

Some interesting themes get explored - life, death, how to measure worth, what helps keep us human. Yet all the deep talk and themes are wrapped in so much action there's never time to breathe, let alone get bored.

One gimmick employed in the film, especially at the beginning, was the shift of topics without them actually being a real shift. As Lucy argues with her boyfriend about not wanting to do him a favor, then Morgan Freeman lectures about theories with regards to the brain's potential, moving shots or nature, and back again to shifting between each other again - at first the action seems random, but it all slowly coalesces into a tightly related whole. And while this has been tried before and not always to good effect, the use of it in this film was pulled off well and to good effect.

4) Stunts - Total Thumbs Up: "Lucy" is filled with stunts. Murder, shoot outs, car chases, airport chases, full out gun battles in hospital hallways and places of learning. They even fire off a bazooka indoors!

Then we have Lucy - with stabbings, beatings, pinning people to ceilings, throwing them across the room, crashing cars, and more stunt inducing fun. Oh, yeah.

5) Locations/Cinematography - Total Thumbs Up: From the streets of Taipei to the streets of Paris, the film had a great variety of locations and flavors. Some good panoramic shots really enhanced the experiences shared with us as Lucy continued on her mental voyage.

Conclusion: "Lucy" is a non-stop thrill ride. Some nice thought provoking science mixed with ugly reality wrapped around a ton of action. The R rating should be taken seriously where kids are concerned. There were enough stunts and flying lead to fill any action film buff's cravings and more.

Rating: 4 out of 5 (Hubby's Rating: Worth Full Price of Admission)

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