Directed by Luc Besson
Starring Scarlett Johansson, Morgan Freeman, Min-sik Choi
Review by Jordan
For some reason I was of the belief that Luc Besson was a skilful and influential director. Perhaps the memories of Leon (1994) and The Fifth Element (1997) reverberate more vividly in my mind than I thought, or maybe its simply that he boasts a cool-sounding French name, but I have always had the impression that he is an auteur able to successfully mix action and imaginative concepts into lasting works for budding cinephiles to admire and discuss.
Then, after watching and, ultimately, being underwhelmed by the surprisingly slight Lucy, I perused his list of films as director (producer would’ve taken too long), noted those that I have seen and realized why his latest effort wasn’t the exhilarating experience I hoped it would be…
The Messenger: The Story of Joan of Arc (1999), Arthur and the Invisibles (1, 2 & 3) and The Family (2013) certainly show that his trend as a film-maker has been downward, and renders it unfortunate that he only wrote and didn’t direct the barnstorming Transporter (2002) starring then-upcoming star Jason Statham, and the guilty pleasure (though poor, I’ll admit) comedy that finally saw Salma Hayek and Penélope Cruz team up, Bandidas (2006). It appears that he is retaining his status as important thanks to the lasting appeal of his classics, and given how much I love The Fifth Element (thanks largely in part to my admiration of Milla Jovovich though), I can almost accept that. Lucy, though, could’ve been a film made by anyone, and is neither a comeback or progressive in the least.
Without being action packed enough for the short-attention span crowd or clever enough for the intellectuals, Lucy is like a science class version of a punk rock song: short, fast & loud. Scarlett Johansson is good as the drug-injected victim of black market smuggling-turned astronomical force of vengeance boasting the ability to control the full capacity of her brain as well as others (pardon the brief plot outline), and there is no shortage of memorable set pieces, but the casting of Morgan Freeman as yet another wise old man with a steely voice reeks of desperation, as do the included snippets of the way in which nature supposedly adapts and utilizes its IQ.
I did not need to see YouTube quality video of animals mating to know that it is what animals do; what I needed was a longer running time and a more patient approach, as well as an ending that didn’t venture way into the realm of inaccessibility. This is not a movie that provokes thought or that will inspire debate; every time an idea or scenario arises that might create a train of intense thought, it is soon shot down by either a bullet or even more lethal stare from the angry heroine, but, in one trait it does share with The Fifth Element, at least its never boring.