TMN Movie Review: "Lucy"

Photo Credit: Universal Pictures

Rating: R
Length: 90 minutes
Release Date: July 25, 2015
Directed by: Luc Besson
Genre: Action / Science Fiction

"Lucy" is about a woman who gets caught up in a dark deal accidentally. Her life is in danger right up to the point where she turns the tables on her kidnappers by becoming the perfect warrior who is moved beyond regular human limitations.


Scarlett Johansson stars in "Lucy" as a woman dancing at a club who gets kidnapped by drug dealers. She is forced to carry their drugs in her stomach. Her captors plan to turn Lucy into a drug mule to transport their drugs while avoiding the authorities.

After the dealers surgically insert the bag of drugs into Lucy, it begins to leak. The different types of drugs leaking inside her body are depicted by showing Lucy's eyes appearing different colors and in different shapes every time she blinks.

The movie operates on the idea that humans are only able to use 10 percent of their brain normally. After the special drugs enter Lucy's bloodstream, she is able to use 28 percent of her brain. As a result, Lucy gains considerable extra powers.

She becomes stronger and faster. She is able to accomplish great feats of intelligence including learning Mandarin Chinese in an hour. She also conducts rapid research into the brain studies of Professor Norman, played by Morgan Freeman.

Lucy then gains quick insight into how to hack into computer security systems, and she does this with Professor Norman's computer. She gets insight from him about her powers might be growing as she begins to use a larger and larger percentage of her brain.

Eventually, Lucy is able to stun an entire room of people into falling asleep with merely a thought. She can rewind time and gain information about the universe beyond what is currently possible. The film explores just how much the human mind is capable of with the help of potential augmentation.

The writer and director, Luc Besson, is also known for movies such as "La Femme Nikita," "The Professional" and "The Fifth Element." This should be a hint to the audience that the film is sure to be action-packed because this is something Besson focuses on.

Scarlet Johansson gives a convincing turn as Lucy, which has her starting off as a hapless girl and turning into something powerful and not entirely human. Johansson certainly gives the audience the impression that she's not content to just stick with easy successes. Her recent work, including movies such as "Her" and "Under the Skin," are all about evolving into something new.

This is the exact theme of "Lucy" as well. It's reasonable to conclude from this that it's a theme that Johansson finds interesting personally because she is evolving in her career as well.

The movie is visually stunning and features spectacles that audiences are likely to continue discussing for years to come. "Lucy" has a unique way of portraying how Scarlet's character sees the world, and how she controls it. Lucy is able to see information streaming off nearly every object and person in reality. She can access information inside people's brains as well as feel the presence of all living creatures on Earth.

The film has implications about the possibility of new forms of intelligences rising up on Earth due to new technologies. The movie deals with this possible intelligence explosion through mental augmentation.

Another recent movie that has this same theme in a different context is the movie "Transcendence." This movie is about a human that becomes more than by uploading his consciousness to a computer. He then gains power by upgrading his intelligence and power quickly from inside the computer by connecting to more and more computer networks.

This suggests there's a recent trend in films such as "Lucy" and "Transcendence" that deal with the curiosity man has about intelligence augmentation and how it might affect mankind as a whole. Johansson also appears to share this curiosity because she also starred in the film "Her," which is about a non-human intelligence that quickly becomes increasingly smarter over a short amount of time. All of these movies share a theme of transcending human limitations, and this is definitely a major current trend in American cinema.

Overall, "Lucy" is a spectacular film that is sure to find a lasting audience among those who just like visual effects and action sequences done by a master such as Besson. But, it's also likely to find a lasting audience among science fiction fans who just like to watch explorations into potential real-life technologies such as intelligence augmentation.