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Lucy (2014)

| July 27, 2014 | 0 Comments

Remember the tiny corner of Marvel’s The Avengers that Scarlett Johansson occupied? Well, in Lucy, she IS The Avengers. She has not only the powers of Thor, Hulk, Loki and Captain America, but also the powers of The Fantastic Four, The X-Men, Superman, Galactus and the T-1000. It’s a potent mixture wrapped up in a pretty blond package that’s easy on the eyes.

It’s too bad that all that collective power is presented in a dull Jason Bourne-type thriller in which she races down busy streets while being chased by men with guns. When you have a character who can bend your own metabolism and travel through time, who cares about gangsters and car chases?

Johansson plays Lucy . . . just Lucy, no last name given. We meet her on the streets of Taiwan with her new boyfriend Richard (Pilou Asbæk) who is trying to coax her into delivering a silver metal briefcase to his boss, Mr. Jang (Min-sik Choi). Richard ducks and dodges Lucy’s reasonable questions like “What’s in the briefcase?” and “Why don’t you deliver it yourself?” but he won’t budge. One thing leads to another and Lucy finds herself dragged into Mr. Jang ‘s office and discovers that he is a powerful Korean gangster with an army of armed men and several dead bodies in the next room. Spoilers ahead, so be warned.

Reasonably Lucy is terrified, but she discovers that the effects of the item in the briefcase are changing and restructuring her brain’s higher functions. I’m not giving anything away because the trailers already did that. That’s unfair and so is the fact that movie gives away the contents of the briefcase (I will not) and thus takes away a great potential mystery. What is contained therein is kind of uninteresting, but it might have been tasty to let our imaginations work it out.

What was in the briefcase is something the eventually gives Lucy the powers of the cosmic universe. It helps that the scenes of Lucy being roughed up are interspersed with an explanation from a certain Dr. Norman (Morgan Freeman) that human beings only use 10% of their brain’s capacity. Lucy finds that the item contained in the briefcase will increase this percentage over a short period of time, giving her the power to control other people, her own metabolism, and eventually gain power over time and space.

Okay, let’s stop there for a moment. Why, in a movie about a woman who can bend time and space, was it necessary to have her running from gangsters? Why did we need chase scenes? The woman unlocks the mysteries of the universe and apparently knows what happens when we die? Wouldn’t it have been much more interesting to have her reveal and explore those secrets? Give us a clue to the origins and destination of our evolution? A movie in which she explores those questions might have been brilliant.

Johansson, whose potent screen presence but has yet to get involved in a big-budget film that lets her act. She shows some potential in the film’s opening scenes. As she is menace by gangsters who speak a language that she doesn’t understand, she is visibly and convincingly terrified. There’s a lot of personality there but it unfortunately goes away as soon as she gains superpowers. She spends much of the movie looking stoic and determined. This is disappointing after her triumphant performance earlier this year in Jonathan Glazer’s Under the Skin, playing an alien who collects epidermises several wayward men. There, her lack of expression was enough to convince us that she was other-worldly. Here, she just looks bored. There are some brilliant ideas buried inside this canned plot that are only briefly allowed to emerge.

About the Author:

Jerry Roberts is a film critic and operator of two websites, Armchair Cinema and Armchair Oscars.
(2014) View IMDB Filed in: Uncategorized