Lucy is about one woman’s journey to the border of reality. It’s about what she does when she gets there. And what she finds there.
The movie starts out in Taipei, Taiwan. A rare location for Western directors. Taipei is a visual treat. Once the world’s tallest building, Taiwan’s iconic 101 floor mega-skyscraper, Taipei 101, makes its obligatory appearance.
In Taiwan we encounter a vicious form of drug trafficking by a Taiwanese-Korean gang. The gang switches between Mandarin Chinese, Korean, and perhaps Taiwanese. Some think that the Asian Triad gangster stereotype is reinforced. On that point I can’t argue, since none of the Asian characters hold positive roles. They all either abuse Lucy, or are abused by Lucy.
Lucy contains enough art-house montage scenes and intellectualisms to please independent film buffs, while having enough violence and special effects to please thrill-seeking mainstream audiences. The violence might make some balk at seeing this film, but it surrounds an engaging thematic setting. It is a brutal film, but it’s a film that doesn’t lack intelligence.
Scarlett Johansson plays Lucy, a woman losing her mind, by what confronts her as she gains use over more of her mind. She plays a woman in mental and material evolution. She does well in the role, and holds her own in the presence of Morgan Freeman.
Lucy scores through its intimate exploration of a woman awakening to the deeper realities of nature, matter, and time. The road it takes, one of the crime underworld, is just the vehicle chosen for what expands into a storm of mind-bending theories on life.