2017.17: Lucy (2014) – Film 4 HD
There was a time when a Luc Besson film meant something rather special. I still recall the almighty stir caused by La Femme Nikita when it came out on VHS and Besson seemed to hit the international mainstream with a bang, and later films Leon and The Fifth Element only cemented him as a major director. He had an ability to make big, stylish films with an American ‘look’ while maintaining a quirky European mentality and feel. But then something weird happened. As a director, his career has followed an odd trajectory towards obscurity, as he seems to prefer to write screenplays and produce films rather than direct. If anything, this doesn’t help matters as everytime he does finally direct a film the ensuing weight of expectation becomes something that the films can rarely live up to (possibly why John Carpenter doesn’t make films anymore). Not that Besson seems to care what anyone else thinks.
So anyway, Lucy is a film I always wanted to watch but considering Besson’s fall from grace as a director I was wary of catching up with it. Mixed/downright angry reviews when this came out at the cinema didn’t help either. So after a few years it has turned up on tv and I’ve given it a shot. Glad I did. Sort of.
Lucy is bonkers . I used to think The Fifth Element was odd and eccentric but goodness, its positively restrained next to this utterly turbocharged crazy mash-up of The Matrix and Akira. The shadow of Akira in particular looms large over the film, an obvious major influence on Bessons mad story about advanced human evolution and mind-bending powers twisting the very fabric of reality.
Logic is thrown out into the street and kicked snivelling into the gutter, because Lucy is just plain nuts. Spectacular yet often oddly boring action sequences attempt to divert attention from the utterly daft premise, but it is kind of fun.Scarlett Johansson is no stranger to superheroics in films thanks to her track record in several Marvel films but as the titular Lucy she races from well-meaning dumb blonde to cosmic time-travelling Goddess in about ninety minutes. Its a breakneck pace that ultimately undermines the film as it becomes ever-more divorced from reality and more like a silly cartoon. Maybe Besson should have been happy to leave Lucy using 50% of her superpowers and left us some frame of reference and danger. Instead he goes all the way to 100% and Lucy leaves humanity far behind her. God only knows where a Lucy 2 might have headed.
But yeah, its mindless fun for much of its time, and as always Johansson is a charismatic lead. Worth a watch.