A woman accidentally caught in a dark deal turns the tables on her captors and transforms into a merciless warrior evolved beyond human logic.
Review by Louise Keller:
It might be too bizarre for some, but Luc Besson's high concept exploration of the meaning of life as it deals with the human brain and its capacity, is wildly fascinating and blatantly sensational. Impossible to categorize, it's a crime thriller cum sci-fi roller coaster, in which time is life's unit of measure. Pushing boundaries while exploring unfathomable notions of what might happen if we could utilise all instead of 10% of the brain's capacity, the result is an audacious film that stimulates and tantalises both visually and intellectually. Besson's film is quite a trip: a potent mix of action and scientific mind-games with Scarlett Johansson's beautiful features in focus throughout (she plays an innocent who becomes an unwilling participant in a heavy duty drug smuggling operation).
After a brief prelude depicting imagery of single and reproducing cells, we are thrown headlong into the dark story, when Lucy (Johansson) is forced to deliver a briefcase with unknown contents to a stranger in Taiwan. The juxtaposition of images of predatory animals in their natural habitat as Lucy (wearing animal print, of course) enters the building to meet the man with blood-soaked hands, is most effective. There are also interspersed scenes of Morgan Freeman's Professor Norman lecturing students about the brain, its capacity and mystery.
With its drug mule themes and central plot line involving powerful synthetic crystals that increase the brain's capacity, the narrative explodes on screen with Lucy both prey and predator. Johansson is fabulous and totally credible as the shapely young woman who evolves into a warrior with heightened senses, strength, no pain, fear or desire and an increasing ability to control herself, others and external forces.
Watch out for the thrilling Paris car chase that begins in Place Vendome, continuing along the Seine with Lucy at the wheel. The shoot outs and innovative way that Lucy handles her foes as she makes them unable to move or fall asleep at will, is highly entertaining. By the time Lucy and Professor Norman connect, we are ready for anything and the visuals, including iridescent streamers floating from the sky and squirming, gigantic black worms representing energy force, are effective. Needless to say, the special effects are mind-blowing. Also effective is the use of music to accentuate the drama and incongruity throughout. A considerable leap of faith is required to tag along with Besson's imaginative train of thought, but the rewards are tangible. If it's intellectual stimulation you are after, chances are you will find it here. Besides, there's plenty to talk about.
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CAST: Scarlett Johansson, Analeigh Tipton, Morgan Freeman
PRODUCER: Virginie Silla
DIRECTOR: Luc Besson
SCRIPT: Luc Besson
CINEMATOGRAPHER: Thierry Arbogast
EDITOR: Not credited
MUSIC: Eric Serra
PRODUCTION DESIGN: Hugues Tissandier
RUNNING TIME: 90 minutes
AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: Universal
AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: July 31, 2014