Girls aren’t made like they used to be – and that’s great news. If before the great roles of heroes saviors of humanity, able to risk their skin countless times throughout the course of a single film in the name of what is considered the noblest mission one can have , were eminently male prerogatives, for some time now women have also assumed the envied (and contested) position of the protagonists of these stories, exponentially widening their arc of popularity. As much to say it Scarlett Johansson, the bomb of the moment for a few years now, gallantly passing from characters with undeniable dramatic appeal in so-called flagship productions, such as “Marriage Story” (2019), directed by Noah Baumbach, to blockbuster “Black Widow (2021), by Cate Shortland. In “Lucy” (2014), the actress continues to show herself as a performer far above the average and above all suspicion, which does not allow the viewer to be taken from any prejudice, whatever his camp in this dispute.
French director Luc Besson seems to have written the screenplay for his feature film with Johansson in mind from the start. Here, from the opening sequence, its main character already says what he came for, in a stimulating game with Richard, by Pilou Asbæk. It is through this brief introduction that the audience takes on the conflict that will be part of Lucy’s life until the poetically morbid end. The two have a conversation that swings deliciously between relaxed and tense about a suitcase the co-star is carrying, sealed, and whose contents no one knows, not even Mr. Jang, the pale antagonist played by Choi Min-sik. It is precisely to Jang that Richard must turn to deliver the volume and get his hands on the thousand dollar reward, a job as simple as chewing water. But things are not so objective. Having previously had trouble with gangsters led by the Taiwanese mob boss, Asbæk’s character struggles to convince his ex-girlfriend to go in his place. After a few minutes where Lucy deconstructs all of Richard’s arguments, she finally agrees to do him a favor, receiving, without asking, five hundred dollars in thanks. She walks in, heads to the lobby, and demands to be greeted by Jang, while Besson is proficient at setting the mood of suspense on this very first approach. What follows brings audiences the first of many audience shocks, and what unfolds from Lucy’s encounter with the incredible villain played by Choi Min-sik is heartbreakingly cruel. It is in this context that the director makes his central character take on just anger which becomes the strongest side of his personality. What happens to him arouses in the spectator an immediate feeling of empathy, while lending itself to draw the spectator into his drama, literally. As there are evils that come for good, or almost, it is thanks to this dreadful experience that Lucy becomes this heroine, now more anti-heroine, of which we spoke at the beginning, endowed with predicates which make her a superhuman creature. . If the average individual is only able to tap into 10% of his intellect’s potential, as Dr. Samuel Norman de Morgan points out in his lecture to a full amphitheater – not a very creative move, but no doubt useful to understand where Besson wants to reach —, the hybrid of homo sapiens and a mechanism that strings together a thousand bits of information per second to which Johansson gives life reaches all 100% without many obstacles, even if it undergoes grave consequences for ceasing to be human, all too human and transient on the mere condition of a strange machine.
In addition to the hi-tech philosophical thriller itself, Luc Besson reserves in his film a place for a loving breath — the romantic breath possible in a film like this, let it be said — between Lucy and the policeman Pierre del Rio , which helps him in the second act, performed by Amr Waked, and thoughts on the evolution of the human race, questionable, in the face of all the nonsense we commit on each other and on the environment, with the quote de Luzia, or Lucy, the first individual of the species, a woman. His Lucy is also the first of this kind of life, but precisely because she is so perfect, unable to find a match in her complete lack of flaws, she perishes. To resist this world, Lucy would have to forget much, most of what she experiences, but she just remembers, and remembers. It’s your bad.
Direction: Luc Besson
To note: 8/10