Pay It Forward!

Lucy (2014)
A Review By Ben Hunter
4½ Out Of 5 Stars


The person behind the camera does the set up; the person in front of it does the convincing!


Life was given to us years and YEARS ago … what are you going to do with it?

It is the job of each generation to pass on their knowledge to the next so that the new generation can supersede its predecessors.  So we can know how to live in this world a little better than before, thus advancing our very existence. 

A kick to the stomach, releasing a highly valuable, synthetic drug, is spread all throughout the body of Lucy (Scarlett Johansson) who realizes these questions to life all while discovering her enhanced mental and physical capabilities such as telekinesis and mental time travel via technology.  Lucy works with scientist/professor Samuel Norman (Morgan Freeman), whose research lines up with Lucy’s experience, to get the answers of her ever changing and transforming body.  Racing the ticking clock of the drug taking over Lucy’s body and the closing in of the drug lord’s who put it there, who want it back, and want her dead. 

Lucy & the Professor get really philosophical in this story, which is why I loved this film.  It’s science fiction with lots of intellectual theory all intertwined with some amusing action sequences to sum up a well stimulating experience.  The discussion of the perception of life really fascinated me.  “It’s your humanity that distorts your perception of the nature of time and life”.  If you speed up or slow down your perception, everything changes, but everything has been the same just as well all along.  So it’s all up to you with the information you have obtained and what you choose to do with it such information that make the difference. 

“Pay it forward” is a terminology I came across while on the struggle for work during the recession here in America, and I feel it definitely applies here.  In the film, the professor (nicely done by Morgan Freeman) informs Lucy that the purpose of life is to pass on the knowledge we have.  This gives Lucy a purpose and a direction to follow with these changes going on in her life and in her body.  Whether you believe or not that this is the MOST important factor of life, all religious reasons aside here, I’m sure we can all agree it’s definitely an important one.  I’m really delighted that writer/director Luc Besson (The Fifth Element, León: The Professional, Angel-A) successfully incorporated important themes and concepts of humanity for us to ponder and remind us why we’re here, living in the first place, successfully done in a “commercial, fun, pop culture flick (making it more than such)”.  We’re not here solely to survive, to simply exist, and then die. 

Lucy (Scarlett Johansson) as the drug slowly takes over her body.  The acting, the acting, oh my gosh the acting in this scene!
Anyone who knows me knows that Scarlett is my girl, my main girl; 2nd to Marilyn of course, and one of my all time favorites.  Her work with Woody Allen has been the best thing for her career and why she deserves a spot in my hall of favorites, not just because of her looks (ditto for every other actress in the hall), but because of what she does to me whenever I experience her journeys on the big screen.  This one was no different.  I loved going through this experience with her and I’m so ecstatic that she’s branching out more in her career and working with all types of filmmakers in this business.  To see a female action hero and to see it done right makes me smile!  Some of her indie work from awhile back is now being released and I couldn’t be happier for my girl!  I’m not going to say everything she touches turns to gold or is the greatest performance ever.  Under The Skin, the indie film I’m referencing is definitely not a favorite (I loved her in it though).  I definitely caught a moment in Lucy that could’ve been tightened up a bit with her acting, like when she’s overwhelmed with fear when first introduced to the drug and the drug lords.  But I still, VERY MUCH SO, and intensely was conveyed with the message from that scene.  I thought she did a heck of a job!  

When the drug first takes over after that “kick”, there’s only so much that Besson’s AMAZING camera work and visual effects can do, Scarlett’s acting takes over then and does the convincing.  Everything else is just the cherry on top (the same for good writing being the convincing with any story).  It honestly felt like when the drug was taking over Lucy, it was taking over me!  I was with her here and all throughout this fun, stimulating of both physical and mental adventure! 

Heck of a job to Besson and everyone on this project for focusing on the message, the important part, and helping us to realize the bigger picture:

Life was given to us years and YEARS ago … what are YOU going to do with it?

Pay it forward!

Science Fiction, 89 Minutes, R
Written & Directed by: Luc Besson
Cast: Scarlett Johansson, Morgan Freeman, Min-sik Choi

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