The Flick Chicks

Jacqueline Monahan's Movie Reviews

Lucy | Scarlett Johansson, Morgan Freeman, Min-sik Choi, Amr Waked | Review

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Jacqueline  Monahan

Las Vegas Round The Clock
Jacqueline Monahan is an educator for the GEAR UP program at UNLV.
She is also an entertainment reporter for
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Lucy | Scarlett Johansson, Morgan Freeman, Min-sik Choi | Review

Lucy (Scarlett Johansson) is an American citizen living in Taipei, suddenly forced into being a drug mule for a vicious Asian gang lord known simply as Mr. Jang (Min-sik Choi).  A packet of blue-violet crystals – CPH4 - is sewn into her abdomen before she and three other similarly loaded victims are sent to different destinations.  

Lucy’s packet ruptures (after a beating by one of her captors) and its contents invade her bloodstream with a rampaging, cell-changing, mind-altering consciousness that allows her brain’s capacity to peak at 100%.  We are told by noted expert on brain performance Professor Samuel Norman (Morgan Freeman), whose lectures are intercut with Lucy’s ordeal, that the usual human neural capacity is 10%.  Not a fact, but just go with that premise until the end credits.

The all-knowing Lucy turns the tables on Mr. Jang and his posse, involving French authorities while making her way to Professor Norman, whose more than 6000 articles she’s read in a few minutes.  Surely he’ll believe her story.

Gun battles and car crashes become the norm while Lucy herself departs from it, developing telekinetic powers and honing her intellect and sensory perceptions to the point of virtual omnipotence.  A room filled with assassins is simply no match for a brain this big, and as a result the bad guys meet ceilings and floors with regularity.

Writer/director Luc Besson (The Fifth Element) uses slow motion, speed-ramping, predator-prey, cellular and prehistoric montages and intercuts to tell Lucy’s story on a universal level, transcending Lucy’s experience to show humanity’s awesome potential for knowledge and intellectual evolution – if we only knew how to harness it.

Besson pulls no punches with Lucy’s character, minimizing her sexuality but maximizing her burgeoning super-human qualities (although he does allow for one totally unbelievable kiss late in the film).  He deserves kudos for fearless originality that resists the safety of predictability or the mediocrity of formula.

Johansson possesses both organic and robotic believability and Freeman resurrects the wise man of integrity he’s known for and portrays so well.

The wild ride is mind blowing if you’re willing to check your logic at the door and simply enjoy Besson’s vision of one human being’s accidentally enhanced brain capacity and all of its implications.  The 88 minute run time can barely contain all of the revelations but there’s never a dull moment in the fragmented journey into humankind’s enlightenment.  

Besson’s Lucy gives us something to think about.  Just don’t think about it too hard.


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