Lucy Screen 16 articles

Lucy

2014

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  • The action sequences are few and far between, and all of them are rendered in that mind-numbing Besson style that’s heavy on the lugubrious slo-mo and winking fetishization. There should be a charge watching Johansson shoot her way into a penthouse suite while classical music blares, but you can barely manage a shrug because it never rises above cool-factor calculation.

  • Lucy is the sort of thing that coasts on the “batshit” defense, which holds that everything is permissible of a movie, so long as it’s improbably off-the-wall enough. For this it qualifies in spades: where most filmmakers use only 10 percent of the film technique available, Besson drenches you with Koyaanisqatsi-scale bucketfuls, even tossing in a bit of Eisensteinian associative montage... Not to get all Jay Sherman, but It Stinks.

  • Briefly on the film, I found it bobbins, but at least with a scintilla of ambition. Definitely on the noble failure end of things. I think what Besson fails to realise is that the end of 2001: A Space Odyssey is great because Dave Bowman *doesn't* need to take drugs. There was also something about it which felt like Besson already had a bunch of effects scenes or pre-designed motifs and just found a way to compress them all together.

  • Was able to roll with the stupidity more easily than I'd imagined (though I still burst out laughing when Morgan Freeman exclaimed "She's looking for energy! And matter!"), and it's immensely gratifying, in these days of studio bloat, to see something so fleet and compact. Unfortunately, Lucy quickly becomes so Dr. Manhattan-powerful that there's nowhere for the movie, lacking an Ozymandias, to go. It's all terrific setup with no real payoff.

  • Besson lacks the intellectual rigor to successfully realize the ambition evident in that metaphysical third act, but it's still exhilarating to watch him try. He's on surer footing with the film's action elements, reveling in the bloody swathe that Lucy cuts through her enemies on her quest to reach Dr. Norman. In an era of sterile PG-13 action films, it's almost refreshing to see that distinctly French brand of I-don't-give-a-fuck splatter across the screen in such Grand Guignol fashion.

  • The film is on the one hand a down-and-dirty EuropaCorp production (a la District B13, Columbiana, Wasabi, Taken…) par excellence, and yet also bears unmistakable traces of the earlier films by writer/director—and the studio's founding father—Luc Besson, infamous both for their jaw-dropping hubris and a nearly childlike disregard for dramatic complexity.

  • If you’ve always wanted to see “2001: A Space Odyssey” remade as a Eurotrash action film starring Scarlett Johansson, Morgan Freeman and the guy from “Oldboy,” with all the ass-kicking, car chases through Paris and special effects – along with the entire history of the universe, “Tree of Life”-style – packed into 90 minutes, then your ship has come in.

  • Calling the whole thing dumb would be a disservice, but not because there’s anything especially smart going on under the movie’s surface. Rather, the sheer weirdness of Lucy’s imagery... prevents it from registering as run-of-the-mill summertime “dumb fun.” It comes across, instead, as a directorial flight of fancy, an imaginatively goofy take on an already goofy idea, exaggerated by Besson’s blunt style and an uncommonly fast pace.

  • Buoyed by Ms. Johansson’s presence, Mr. Besson keeps his entertainment machine purring. He may be a hack, but he’s also a reliable entertainer, even when he’s recycling other director’s ideas (a pinch of David Fincher here, a dash of Christopher Nolan there), or giddily engaging in slaughter and racist stereotypes.

  • You'd be hard pressed to identify one idea, scene or element in the picture that is not a cliche. But the total package feels fresh. From the minute that Johansson's title character suffers a beating in captivity that ruptures the drugs in her stomach and releases them into her bloodstream (a Yankee nightmare), the film enters a realm of continual delight, though not always surprise.

  • I had no idea that [Lucy] would borrow metaphysical themes, imagery, and even ideas from the films of Terrence Malick. Besson, who wrote the script and directed, makes use of a keen science-fiction setup that could be lifted from a scrappy and hectic nineteen-fifties drive-in classic. He reaches speculative heights that are fascinating to ponder, thrilling to watch onscreen, and silly to throw away on a rickety story with clumsily pumped-up excitement and emptied-out implications.

  • Dragooned drug mule Lucy (Scarlett Johansson) is visually compared to both a rodent approaching cheese in a mousetrap and a gazelle attacked by a pride of lions. This isn’t intercutting as Eisensteinian juxtaposition or Roegian mystification, but vigorously simplistic deployment of very basic cliches. Doing so without expository grounding, in however intellectually rudimentary fashion, is a level of unapologetic metaphor not normally seen in Hollywood films, summer fare or otherwise.

  • Ridiculous, silly, bullshit, bonkers, weird. Whole lot of descriptors I could apply to this. The gist, though, is that it’s far afield from anything I might’ve expected, albeit in oft-inane fashion.

  • As far as Scarlett Johansson vehicles are concerned, Lucy is a veritable time machine. One of the most exciting, brilliant and insane action films in recent memory, Lucy doesn’t feel like the work of someone who has a studio on the line so much as it does the work of someone who has absolutely nothing to lose (least of all his mind). As a result, what seemed like a rather dubious proposition has — against all odds — almost single-handedly redeemed a summer of turgid blockbuster cinema.

  • Besson has a flair for colour, as in the delightful montage answering the question what we’ve done with our billion years of life, ranging dazzlingly from a hajj in Mecca to the Rubik’s Cube. He’s also the kind of action director (Paul W.S. Anderson, of Resident Evil fame, is another) who likes to keep the action going, like a colour in his palette – the colour red, for the most part – while also speckling the canvas with ruminative moments and zany humour.

  • Lucy is a thriller with a sci-fi twist, and has Besson’s stamp of expertise: he knows how to make a thriller. He knows how to film car chases (bless his soul: I love a good car chase).

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