Following a string of, to be frank, rather terrible feature films that Luc Besson has either written or directed, ranging from Taken 2 to The Family, all the way to 3 Days to Kill, it’s great to see the French director back on track, presenting his latest feature Lucy, which is arguably the best he’s had to offer this side of the Millennium.
Scarlett Johansson plays our eponymous protagonist, kidnapped by the brutal crime-lord, Mr. Jang (Choi Min-sik), who wants to use his victim as a means of transporting a brand new narcotic across to Europe. With the package of the drug inside Lucy’s stomach, following an altercation with one of Jang’s henchmen, it rips inside, and the electric blue particles seep into her bloodstream, allowing her the ability to unlock the mind’s full potential, able to reach 100% rather than the 10% that human beings are otherwise limited to. So she sets off to Paris to convene with Professor Norman (Morgan Freeman), desperately seeking help while Jang remains fervently on her tail.
With a nod to Besson’s films of old, like Nikita or Leon, Lucy is a stylistic endeavour that is exceedingly cool and atmospheric – enhanced greatly by the pulsating soundtrack that compliments the slow-motion action sequences. Johansson shines in the leading role too, and much like her performance in Under the Skin, she manages to display a degree of vacancy to her demeanour, where she seems so callous and impassive behind her eyes, able to detach herself from emotion remarkably – and yet all the while there’s a subtle hint of warmth and depth to the role, allowing you to still invest in her throughout.
It’s worth noting that Lucy is one of the most daft, nonsensical pictures you’ll see this year, with no scientific evidence whatsoever to back up this bold, audacious premise. For many this could be jarring, but for those who simply want to appreciate and indulge in an illusory, yet ultimately entertaining thriller, then Lucy is just the ticket. You have to be wary in taking it at face value, because if you were to fastidiously vilify the piece, it will dampen your enjoyment significantly, and nobody wants that.