Luc Besson, director of 'The Fifth Element', returns to Taipei for 'Lucy', the backdrop to this sci-fi thriller that transcends genres and breaks boundaries of type.
It is also Taipei where the opening documentary style visuals capture your attention. Reminiscent of 'The Tree of Life', the masses of people, the endless traffic, the sun rising over the city that pre-empts the films themes of increasing knowledge, heightened senses and evolution. Progress.
Enter Lucy (Scarlett Johansson), a student that gets kidnapped in becoming a drug mule for the experimental party drug, synthetic CPH4. When her captors abuse her, the drug accidentally leaks into her stomach, triggering a reaction that leads to her ability to utilise more of her brain capacity.
"The average person uses 10% of their brain capacity. Imagine what she could do with 100%" reads the poster. Imagine is exactly what Besson does as the film unveils itself.
As Lucy comes to the realisation of her increasing powers, such as increased electronic wave manipulation, telepathy and mind control, she seeks the help of Professor Norman (Morgan Freeman) who has been studying this theory for over two decades.
The downside of Lucy's growing powers is the inevitable possibility of death. Her cells are reproducing too quickly and eventually she will run out of time and die. She calls her mum to tell her she loves her.
With the remaining time that she has, Lucy seeks the revenge of her captors, whilst in the pursuit of ultimate knowledge. The film therefore chronicles her ascension to reaching 100% brain capacity.
Although the movie has a thrilling start, it meanders into strange and unexpected territories. The convoluted plot and bizarre visuals shock as it reaches its 'Transcendence'-esque climax. Perhaps we haven't reached the level of brain capacity needed to understand this movie.
Scarlett Johansson- Lucy
Morgan Freeman- Professor Norman
Also stars Min-Sik Choi, Amr Waked and Analeigh Tipton
Scarlett Johansson is gripping and believable in the opening, offering a varied emotional performance, up until the point of her contact with her mother. From here on, she's an emotionless killing machine, devoid of expression, whose sole purpose is to maximise her brain capacity. Despite criticism of her lack of humanity, perhaps this is Besson's intent of questioning what truly makes us Human?
'Lucy' is not the typical popcorn blockbuster that the trailer may have led us to believe. Despite a compelling and straight forward start, the movie turns to an unexpected and baffling direction. As the credits roll, what does it all mean? Who knows. At least we all have something to talk about now.
Plus, if we ever wondered what it would be like for Scarlett Johansson to ever breathe fire/light rays, see 'Lucy' to find out.