Monday, 25 August 2014

Lucy (4 Stars)

Today I went to see "Lucy", the new blockbuster from director Luc Besson. By my definition it's a French film, although most of the dialogue is in English. Since it takes place in three countries, America, France and Taiwan, parts of the dialogue were in Mandarin and French, which was annoyingly left unsubtitled. I expect this was deliberate, so that we can empathise with Lucy, a woman surrounded by people speaking languages she can't understand.

The film is about how a woman is accidentally given the ability to tap into the resources of her brain and utilise its capactites to 100%. She is forced to transport a new recreational drug, CPH4, by having a bag sewn into her abdomen. During a fight with one of her captors she's kicked in the stomach and the bag ruptures. This sparks a transformation, and she gradually begins to become more powerful, ultimately gaining Godlike abilities.

I enjoyed the film, but I have to admit that it has plot holes as big as the gaps in the sweaters my grandmother used to knit. At the beginning the drug is only to be sold as a recreational drug, but as the film progresses the crime boss seems to realise what has happened to Lucy. If he had known this, why didn't he ingest the drug himself? In the final scenes Lucy doesn't deal with the approaching criminals herself, because she doesn't want to be distracted. She could easily have incapacitated the criminals within seconds before going on with her work. This plot hole was just an excuse for the insertion of action scenes to make the film more attractive.

At only 90 minutes (minus credits) I felt that the film was rushed. If another half hour had been tagged on we could have had more character development. In particular, Morgan Freeman's character, Professor Norman, could have been fleshed out. Maybe Luc Besson wanted to avoid the mistakes made in "Transcendence", which dragged on too long. "Lucy" does deal with similar issues to "Transcendence", but with different moral conclusions.

"Lucy" further establishes Scarlett Johansson as one of Hollywood's most talented actresses. The film has flaws, but if you are prepared to overlook them you'll see that it contains a lot of fascinating ideas.

A word of thanks to Nick, my favourite employee at Cineworld in Birmingham. Today I panicked when I arrived at the cinema, because I realised that I'd forgotten my Unlimited Card. I asked him if I could get a refund by keeping the receipt and showing my card the next time I go, but he solved the problem a lot more easily. He said he would let me in without a ticket. That's great customer service, but I doubt it would work for everyone. Nick knows me because I often make complaints, usually about Cineworld not showing films I want to see.


  1. Good ideas and good acting by scarlet but yet another Morgan Freeman 'quick paycheck' and one of the worst anti climaxes I can remember. Basically a 4 star film tainted with a 2 star ending.
    I will always respect Besson though for his creative vision.

    1. The film had a lot of promise, but it didn't live up to its ideas. Looking back to it, I can't remember why I gave it 4 stars. It doesn't seem so good in my memory. That happens to me sometimes. I give a film a rating, either good or bad, and then a year later when it settles in my memory I can't remember why.

      I've read that there will be a "Lucy 2". Let's hope it goes a different direction. It would be good to make a superhero-ish franchise out of it.

    2. It just promised more than it delivered. The opening reel could have been for a chillingly realistic drugs mule type film, and gripped me. I still think scarlet's best films were lost in translation and match point. (still need to see girl with pearl earring)

    3. I never understood why "Lost in Translation" is so popular. Bill Murray is well-known for his slow acting, but in "Lost in Translation" he grinds to a halt as if he's parodying himself. Maybe I'll watch it again some day soon, so that I can write a review. I'll have to check if it's on Netflix, because I certainly wouldn't buy it.


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