Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Lucy Review

'Life was given to us a billion years ago. What have we done with it?'

A woman named Lucy (Scarlett Johansson) gets caught up in a trade off that forces her to work as a drug mule. Full of large quantities of CPH4, she is soon able to gain access to larger percentages of her brain capacity when the packet breaks inside of her.

Don't get me wrong, its refreshing to see such a cool, calculated female protagonist, but why is it that often times, when we do, she has to be a cold, heartless bitch? As a result of the magic CPH4, Lucy encapsulates this stereotype, becoming violent and uncaring, shooting anyone that gets in her way. By the way, this includes a terminal cancer patient who she justifies killing because he was 'going to die anyway' because she wants a wound dressed. You'd think that a character with a new-found superior understanding of life and its fragile nature would A) have more respect for it, and B) be more compassionate about the pain she's inflicting now that she feels everything more than everyone else.

The thing is with Lucy is that it can't decide what it wants to be. Is it a thoughtful sci-fi action blockbuster, or a generic action film disguising itself as something more meaningful by interspersing itself with Terrence Malick-inspired shots of time and space? Are we meant to be looking up to Lucy as a protagonist, relating to her in some way? As the film progresses she becomes more and more robotic, devolved back into an almost pure state of being in which her natural human desires are eliminated, conveniently enough. The only other real comparative we have is her brief interaction with her house mate who is depicted as some kind of shallow bimbo for being interested in the opposite sex, and is seemingly incapable of looking after herself, unaware of the underlying health issues that Lucy's super-advanced senses can now detect.

We're not allowed to mourn the simplification of Lucy's character because, oddly, we barely knew anything about her to begin with. The film's only attempt at emotion is in a phone conversation between Lucy and her absent mother. However it just fails to pack a punch, not only because we know nothing about their relationship, but because her mother reacts in a completely relaxed, improbable way to her daughter telling her she can feel 'Space, the air, the vibrations'. Lucy goes on to tell her mother she can remember what her breast milk tasted like, and all manner of other meaningless drivel. All the while her mother doesn't bat an eyelid, not even stopping to ask her poor daughter whether she might be tripping.

This film is so average it hurts, but what hurts the most is its attempt at generating a deeper meaning. Where we should be in awe of our heroine's new-found acumen, we find ourselves rolling our eyes at her pretentious, bratty nature. It's sad because Lucy had potential, the concept itself was interesting and engaging, but it was so, so poorly executed. You know things are getting far-fetched when a woman is able to literally make people around her float with her mind because of drugs.

Had they kept it mostly within the realm of plausibility, and focused on what could actually be achieved were a human actually able to access a higher percentage of their brain, and how it would affect them, it could have been more compelling. Instead, we're given what I imagine a sequel to Carrie would have looked like, had she survived and discovered steroids, releasing her wrath upon the men of the world after never getting over prom.