Scarlett Johansson follows up her appearance in this year’s Captain America sequel with an outstanding turn in Luc Besson’s relentless Lucy.
On a simple delivery mission gone awry, Johansson’s titular Lucy is taken hostage and used as a means to traffic a new form of synthetic drug which has the capability of increasing human brain capacity. An unsuspecting mobster unleashes the synthetic drug into her bloodstream, (literally) kicking off 90 minutes of mayhem which begins with a bang, and ends with a semi-whimper.
It’s been a topsy turvy few years for director Luc Besson, and whilst this is his best film since 1997’s Fifth Element, Lucy wavers dramatically from exhilerating to exhausting, often in the space of a single scene.
As the synthetic drug spills into Lucy’s bloodstream she becomes more intelligent and more powerful, whilst the film begins to lose logic and works itself into a corner it doesn’t quite manage to sneak out of entirely convincingly.
Lucy’s early manifestations of powers are exciting, intriguing and funny at once, making for an entertaining initial two acts, before the final act ups the ante to a frankly dizzying extent leading to a heady finale.
This is very much the Scarlett Johansson show, and she continues a fine recent run of form with a brilliantly empathetic performance, allowing a connection with what could have been a one note character.
The task of giving the film grounding and explaining the “science” falls to Morgan Freeman, who gives an assuredly “Morgan Freeman-esque” performance in a role which mostly consists of delivering lectures. Beyond these two characters the remaining cast is more or less expendable as Lucy exercises her ever growing brain capacity.
As Lucy struggles to control her new found abilities, the film struggles to handle the extent of its ideas within the snappy running time, which ultimately means that whilst this is a fun romp, it will likely not live long in the memory barring a great performance from Johansson.
Ridiculous, fun, and at times, ridiculously fun.
Rating (out of 5):