Somewhere between Nikita and Leeloo lives: Lucy. Besson is doing all of his usual moves at once in this film, for he’s found a new way to combine them. It’s a little bit Inception (the theoretical genius explaining things in Paris part). It’s a lot 2001 (the proto-human apes in the prehistoric past part). It might even be a little bit Her (the artificially evolving consciousness part). Except there are guns. There are mobsters. There are drug mules. There’s no particular reason Lucy’s exposure to a new synthetic substance (one mothers naturally secrete in the womb in very minute amounts) should give her a superhero origin story. The wholly familiar high concept shouldn’t work as well as it does. Two reasons it does are Scar-Jo (fast becoming Zoe Saldana’s main rival for space babe heroines) and Morgan Freeman (who is needed to lend gravitas to the nearly ridiculous goings on). Freeman works really hard getting us all to take Lucy seriously. But it’s not an impossible task, because Besson clearly believes in his fantasy leading lady too. There’s surprisingly not a lot of martial arts, which one would expect given all the elements mentioned above. And that’s for a basic reason. As Lucy’s consciousness floods with exponential information (her growing mental capacity provides a kind of count-up that drives the film), and she gains insight and abilities, she leaves the need for physical combat behind pretty quickly. Why fight when you can just float your enemies away? Or smash them into invisible walls? Or make all their guns unload? The visualization techniques Besson uses to clue us into Lucy’s experience are nothing new (floating streams of data; montages to symbolic animals engaged in predation and mating; microscopic and macrocosmic views of globular items), but they are combined effortlessly, seamlessly and with a certain blunt elegance. Sort of the same way Amr Waked plays Parisian detective (and Besson stand-in) Pierre del Rio; a seasoned cop, he stays on his toes after Lucy initiates contact, and eventually decides doing things her way is probably for the best, proving a valuable ally. Another touchstone for the movie is The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, because Lucy is as determined and as chameleonic as Lisbeth Salander. All of it of course is very cinematic, and if the orgy of rather random car chases through the streets of Paris is fairly formulaic (mostly a case of Besson giving the stunt drivers something to do for all it matters to the plot), or the writhing black tendrilly techno-organic thing she becomes at one point looks like it escaped from the opening credits of the American Dragon Tattoo, it’s not like originality really makes much difference anymore. We don’t care if we’ve seen it all before. We just care that it looks great and fits together now. And Besson has a way of cutting to the point (as when Freeman tries to arrange a meeting with Lucy over the phone, only to find her already at the door of his undisclosed location) that keeps things fresh and lively. Scarlett stays very focused and Besson augments his star with just the right amount of FX, cosmic nebulae and wildlife documentary shots. It’s a shameless, swift, stylish ride from start to finish. Lucy (2014)4.0Overall ScoreShare this:TweetShare on TumblrLike this:Like Loading... Related One Response Top Ten Favorite 2014 Sci-Fi Movies - Psycho Drive-In January 23, 2015 […] Besson’s Lucy caught a lot of flak for playing to that old wives’ tale about people only using 10% of their […] Log in to Reply Leave a Reply Cancel ReplyYou must be logged in to post a comment.