When Lucy (Scarlett Johansson) is forced by a casual boyfriend to deliver a locked case to a mysterious Mr Jang, she has no idea of the nightmare which is about to unfold. Together with three other captives, she is forced to undergo surgery to implant a package of concentrated CPH4 into her abdomen. CPH4 is a natural molecule produced by pregnant women which stimulates the growth of their unborn baby’s brain. When the package inside Lucy is ruptured following an assault by a guard, the leaking of the chemical into her body stimulates her brain to rapidly increase its functional capacity from 10% to 100%. Knowing that her rapid development will lead to ‘overload’, Lucy contacts renowned neuroscientist Professor Norman (Morgan Freeman) to help her as she hurtles towards her inevitable demise.
Apparently the science doesn’t stack up in this movie. Although growth molecules clearly exist in nature, CPH4 is not real, and a similar substance would not produce the changes explored in the film. But as an imaginary journey into the unexplored realms of the human mind, this film was fascinating. Lucy develops unimagined abilities, but these are not of the superhero brute-strength type; her skills are more refined. One of my favourite scenes in the film is where Lucy can ‘see’ all the phone signals emanating from mobiles. She is able to scroll through them as if she is playing the strings of the harp, in order to isolate the conversation she is searching for. That kind of realisation of an imaginary concept by the director, Luc Besson, is for me what made this film so intriguing. Scarlett Johansson is a gutsy, uncompromising heroine and the inconsistencies in the film were not enough for me to be prevented from enjoying it.
In the final scenes of the film, as Lucy’s brain is approaching 100% capacity, she knows everything. As she searches for energy, she frantically downloads everything she knows, all the secrets of the Universe, onto a computer which will be accessible long after she has gone. As time speeds up, moving objects eventually become invisible, time stands still. So although the facts behind this film may render it science-fictional nonsense, art did mirror reality for the 89 minutes I spent watching ‘Lucy’; I was so engrossed, that time did seem to stand still.