Directed by: Luc Besson
Cast: Scarlett Johansson, Morgan Freeman, Min-sik Choi, Amr Walked, Pilou Asbaek.
Synopsis: Forced to smuggle an experimental drug by an Asian crime syndicate, Lucy is infected with it, increasing her brain capacity to its full potential, questioning what it is to be human.
Lucy (Scarlett Johansson) is a student in Taiwan. She has started dating a guy named Richard (Pilou Asbaek) who is trying to convince her to deliver a briefcase to a Mr. Jang (Min-sick Choi) inside a ritzy hotel.
Evasive about why he needs Lucy to do this, he winds up paying her $500 do to the delivery just before he handcuffs it to her wrist..
Waiting for Mr. Jang at the reception desk, she sees Richard shot outside the hotel before she is taken by a group of scary men up to the penthouse to Mr. Jang. Jang is covered in blood and dead bodies are badly hidden in the room. Lucy is nearly hysterical, begging for her life.
Forced to open the case herself, she discovers it is four bags of a deep blue substance. They tell her the name of the drug and how it has been genetically manipulated to mimic the drug pregnant mothers naturally make six weeks into the pregnancy to start their baby’s brain functions. Jang thinks it will produce a new type of high and wants to ship it to America and Europe.
Lucy is drugged and when awakened, she discovers an incision in her belly. She’s carrying the drug to a major city, along with three other men who share Lucy’s fate. Packed into a cab, she is kidnapped by a rival gang and locked in a jail cell. She’s beaten there and the bag inside her bursts, overrunning her system. Effects are immediate and startling. By the time a soldier checks on Lucy she has a plan, quickly overpowering the soldier and making her escape.
Juxtaposed in this story is a university lecture in Paris by Professor Norman (Morgan Freeman). His specialty is the human brain and cerebral capacity. It’s here were hear about humans using 10 percent of their brain and what could happen if someone could use more and more.
When Lucy escapes, she goes to a hospital and gets the packet removed, but it has already changed her brain and her intellect is rapidly evolving. Each 10 percent or so is shown on the screen, keeping the audience up with what new powers manifest and the almost magical things she can do.
As she realizes what is happening, she finds and contacts Professor Norman, convincing him she is on the level and she is coming to him in Paris. She also knows the way the cells are reverting she will need the rest of the drugs to survive even another day and arranges a drug bust at the European cities where the other smugglers were sent.
She enlists the aid of a French Police Capt. Pierre Del Rio (Amr Walked) to collect the packets. When Mr. Jang discovers Lucy isn’t on her way out of Taiwan, he begins to hunt her and she him, purely for revenge. She does a little mind meld trick of her own on Jang and leaves to get the rest of the drugs, starting a cat and mouse game that continues through the movie.
Johansson owns this role. She is believable and her calmness as she grows less and less human is well done. By the end, she has kept enough of her humanity to help her race after she must leave.
“Lucy” may be a high concept science fiction movie, but it also in one great kick-ass thriller. It’s the best thing director Luc Besson has done since “Fifth Element.” Besson’s deft use of wild animals to mimic human behavior is inspired, and the cinematography blossoms as Lucy’s powers over time and space grow.
This is a movie that will make you stop and think long after you’ve left the theater, or make you turn around and go watch it again.