starring Scarlett Johansson, Morgan Freeman, Choi Min-Sik, Amr Waked, Julian Rhind-Tutt, Pilou Asbaek, Analeigh Tipton,
written and directed by Luc Besson
Luc Besson is a weirdo like American Tim Burton, but an ingenious film maker nonetheless. He favors incredibly strong leading females. When I first saw Lucy on my DVD rental shop shelf I thought it might be some other re-make of or variation on Besson’s famous film Nikita (La Femme Nikita, 1990, starring Anne Parillaud, about a girl sentenced to life in prison for violent robbery being re-trained as an assassin and released into the world, re-made in English as Point of No Return, 1993, starring Bridget Fonda). The photo on the DVD box cover showed a pistol-toting, white-T-shirt-clad Scarlett Johansson with her face frozen in grim determination that I thought looked very Nikita-esque. I couldn’t figure out what Morgan Freeman or the Asian actors who also appeared in the box photo had to do with it. Remember that in Japan I cannot read the box notes and I have to judge a film on the basis of recognized actors, the pictures on the box, and a general feeling I get from the visual appearance of the goods.
Lucy is a contemporary thriller based on an idea that many of us have heard, the notion that human beings only use about 10% of their brains, and speculation about how fantastic we would be, or it would be for us if we could access more of our brains.
This 10% of the brain thing is a myth, really. What does it mean? Some say we use 100% of our brains, but only at a small fraction of its capacity - like 10% of its potential. If so, it means that we are using all of our brain, but under-using it, like running an electrical appliance at low voltage. This seems a lot more likely than the usual picture conjured by the statement, that 90% of what is inside our heads goes to waste. Furthermore, when someone asserts that we only use 10% of our brain I think what they mean is that only 10% of our total neurons, or neuron synapses are responsible for our daily lives. It has nothing to do with intelligence. If a person uses, for example, 15% of their neurological synapses it would not mean that they are any more intelligent as a result. They might be, but proving it would be difficult. In addition, it might be the case that we only use about 10% of our brain at any given moment and that over the course of an 80-or100-year lifetime it might fairly be said that the entire brain is thoroughly used.
Ignorance brings chaos, not knowledge.
Lucy’s ability to use more of her brain starts when she is used as a drug mule by some Korean gangsters. They drug her, perform surgery on her, and insert a pouch of drugs in her abdomen. But the pouch leaks and the drug enters her bloodstream, after which she acquires enhances physical and mental abilities. As Lucy’s ability to use more of her neurological synapses increases stranger and stranger things begin to happen. She can control her body’s metabolism. Then she can control her environment. Then she can begin to influence other people. Finally, she controls time and space. Her consciousness expands to fill space and her body disintegrates. It’s really interesting.