Besson tries and fails (again)

Luc Besson’s films haven’t really received many good reviews over the past few years and unfortunately his latest release, Lucy, does nothing to change that fact. Starring both Scarlett Johansson and Morgan Freeman, this film had the potential to be pretty darn great, but it fell short at just about every hurdle. The film follows the story of Lucy, a student who is forced into becoming a drug mule with a packet of a new drug, CPH4, sewn into her. Her passage takes a turn for the worse when she is violently attacked, causing the drugs packet inside of her to burst, releasing very large amounts of the drug, which increases the user’s brain function capacity, into her bloodstream.  Lucy immediately begins to develop powerful mental talents such as telekinesis, the ability to absorb information instantaneously and mental time travel amongst other things.  

Lucy seems to have passed under the radar in terms of popular summer film releases, which surprised me upon hearing about it, but doesn’t surprise me at all now that I’ve seen it. Whilst the plot is intriguing and there are some superb special effects, the two don’t quite mesh together and it all starts to crumble the minute the film gets going. At only 89 minutes long, there isn’t really any time for anything to be properly developed, be it the characters or the plot and quite frankly the last third of the film literally makes no sense at all. Typical of Besson’s films, there are lots of cool special effects and the whole film is very ‘visual’, but the attempt to combine snazzy action sequences and exploding visuals with a complicated story line about the capacity of the human brain results in a huge muddle (a beautiful muddle, but a muddle nevertheless).

I’d say that a lot of people don’t often fully comprehend the complicated scientific theories behind these sorts of films; however, enough information to support a basic understanding of what is going on would be ideal. Unfortunately, Besson does not seem to think the same, leaving watchers completely baffled as to what exactly is going on for all 89 minutes of this film.  

One of the main problems with this film is that it was just too ambitious. It has been said that in Besson’s ‘Statement of Intent’ he compared the film to Nolan’s Inception. Really, Besson? This film seems lost and misguided, unsure of where it’s going and what it’s trying to be. At several points throughout the film the audience was laughing but I certainly wouldn’t classify this film as a comedy. Whilst at the beginning this seemed like a serious thriller, it swiftly turned to meaningless action sequences reminiscent of Besson’s Hitman. The film’s one saving grace would be that Scarlett Johansson kicks some serious ass and there’s a real ‘girl-power’ vibe throughout. The acting is great but without a coherent plot to support it, it all goes to waste.

Indeed, Lucy has received very mixed reviews from critics since its release just under a week ago but a lot of those reviews tend to be along the lines of ‘it’s better than expected’ which doesn’t equal ‘worth watching’. All in all, Lucy is a film that had the potential to be something great but poor execution has led it astray and consequently the overall feeling is just one of confusion and disappointment.  

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