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"Lucy" by Luc Besson: Film Review

“Lucy” is a 2014 English-language French science fiction thriller film written and directed by Luc Besson and produced by his wife Virginie Besson-Silla for his company EuropaCorp. Shot in Taipei, Paris, and New York City, the movie features Scarlett Johansson, Morgan Freeman, Choi Min-sik, and Amr Waked. Johansson, the protagonist of the film, portrays a woman (Lucy) who gains psychokinetic abilities when she was exposed to a nootropic drug as the drama unfolds on the underworld drug trade.

Released on July 25, 2014, the film was a box office success, grossing over $463 million based on a $40 million budget (Gettell, 2018). Although the film was positively received for its themes, visuals and Johansson’s performance, critical elements of the plots, especially the scientific inaccuracies on the 10% brain utilisation myth and resulting abilities were criticised (Blackburn, 2018). Johansson’s excellent acting abilities shapes and effectively portrays Lucy’s drastic character development during the course of the show, from first being a terrified, na?ve woman who witnesses the cruel and ruthless antics of Mr. Jang (played by Choi Min-sik), to a fully emotionless warrior channeling a warrior spirit, Johansson’s intrepid characteristics are central to bringing the issue of power to the audience when she takes on the very men who tried to kill her.

In the film, Lucy’s knowledge of the universe and her powerful psychokinetic abilities were enhanced after being drugged with CPH4 by Jang as a result of a botched drug mule operation. The story line is peppered with various captivating scenes; from the museum showcasing the first ape in the world named Lucy and the metropolitan cities portraying the hectic lifestyle to the infinite universe. Despite the scientific inaccuracies, the narrative of the story challenges the perception and limitations of women being just another supportive role and how these impact strong men such as Professor Norman (Morgan Freeman), police captain Del Rio (Amr Waked) and Mr Jang. The film pushes Lucy in the spotlight, and how her actions revolved on reversing the long-rooted patriarchal society in science-fiction films. It makes sense to the audiences that whatever we watch is just fictional.

The symbolic representation of Lucy as the ape denigrates women while the pictorial evolution of human suggests the supremacy of men. Through the end of the film, Lucy toys with the futile attempts of men such as Jang to control her but failing miserably in the end. However, this begs the question on the direction of the movie is heading towards. “Lucy’s” plot started off as an accidental, typical drug mule operation then to seeking revenge on her captors. But the film never addressed Lucy’s subsequent motivation on achieving full brain capacity, and how would that overall contribute to the story. Moviegoers who place importance on scientific accuracy might be disappointed with the constant use of brain myth that is integral to the plot, but the movie offers a fresh perception on protagonists in science-fiction films unlike movies that are traditionally male.

The movie shows that a female character can lead as well as men, if not possibly better.

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