The Cinefessions crew loves sharing their opinions on films, but not every movie can get the attention it deserves with a full review. Enter the Cinefessions’ Capsule Reviews. These capsule reviews cover five of the most important aspects of a film, which allow the crew to deliver their opinions on any movie clearly, decisively, and with brevity. These are not our full thoughts on any film, just a highlighting of the major pros and/or cons.
Scarlett Johansson has been an absolute force lately, with critically acclaimed outings in both Captain America: The Winter Solider, and Under the Skin. Her work in Lucy was less appreciated by the masses, likely because of the emotional state of the character, but I think she does a great job. She is just as strong in Lucy as she was in Captain America, and her work continues to impress. She is able to take on whatever role is given to her, and deliver memorable, meaningful performances, and Lucy is no different. She plays the ass-kicker wonderfully, and though her character in this is eventually unfeeling, she’s still a thrill to watch. It’s also great to see Morgan Freeman in a non-cameo, supporting role. He’s great here, but Min-sik Choi (Oldboy) really steals the show as the antagonist, Mr. Jang. Jang is a sociopathic killer and drug dealer that is willing to do whatever it takes to get his drugs to their intended destination, and Choi is memorable as hell in his portrayal of Jang.
Story & Script
The story of Lucy hooked me from the first trailer (well, that and the fact that the insanely beautiful Scarlett Johansson was the lead). Lucy is thrown into a bad situation which results in her receiving a packet of drugs in her intestines. After getting beat up, the packet breaks open, and the drugs seep into her blood stream. These drugs are unique in that they allow the user to unlock more than the average 10% of the human brain that we normally use. Eventually, Lucy unlocks more and more of her brain power, becoming seemingly superhuman as she tries to track down the rest of the drugs and take down the crime lord, Mr. Jang. This is a really cool premise that delivers even better than I anticipated. The story isn’t deep, but it is entertaining, and watching ScarJo kick ass never gets old. Lucy becomes more emotionless as she unlocks her brain power, but there is enough emotion around the character to keep it rooted. Does the science of the film work, or even make sense? I couldn’t care less. It is entertaining, and that’s all that matters to me in an action film like this.
Luc Besson’s films are often divisive. The Family is another example, like Lucy, that half of the viewers loved, and the other half hated. The Fifth Element is arguably his only film that has universal appeal. That said, I fall into the camp that enjoys a lot of his work. Lucy is a great example of Besson’s strange directorial style, and a lot of this is shown in the opening fifteen minutes as images of a wild cat chasing down its prey are thrown into the opening scene where Lucy is meeting the men that will change her life forever. It’s odd, overly symbolic, and could easily turn some people off, but it doesn’t ruin the movie for me. This odd montage of images doesn’t show its head again later in the film, which makes it more excusable. Besson has an excellent sense of style, and he finds some incredible images through Lucy that will stick with the viewer long after the film is over.
The special effects in Lucy are remarkable. The ideas that the script has about what happens to a human when they unlock more brain power are a lot of fun to think about, and the effects work bring them to life in a way that wouldn’t have been possible even ten years ago. Besson uses the technology to drive the story forward, and all of these scenes are exciting to watch.
Lucy is interesting enough that I want to watch it again right now. I’m glad I ended up buying this film because it is one I will definitely revisit over time. It may not have as much replay value as The Fifth Element, but I’m sure I’ll enjoy watching it again for many years.
Lucy is a blast. It’s a full-throttle action film that is just a bit too odd for mainstream success, but will surely thrive on home video. It feels bit like a big budget film with a B-movie heart, which is probably why I love it so much. I’ll definitely recommend this to anyone looking for a fun 90-minute ride with a unique premise, and excellent special effects.
Branden has been a film fan since he was young, roaming the halls of Blockbuster Video, trying to find the grossest, scariest looking VHS covers to rent and watch alone in the basement. It wasn’t until recently, though, that Branden started seeking out the classics of cinema, and began to develop his true passion for the art form. Branden approaches each film with the unique perspective of having studied the art from the inside, having both a bachelor’s and master’s degree in acting. He has been a film critic since 2010, and has previously written for Inside Pulse Movies, We Love Cult, and Diehard Gamefan. His biggest achievement as a film critic, to date, has been founding Cinefessions and turning it from a personal blog to a true film website, housing hundreds of film and television reviews, and dozens of podcasts.