REVIEW: Scarlett Johansson gets brainy in ‘Lucy’

REVIEW: Scarlett Johansson gets brainy in ‘Lucy’

Photo: YouTube

Genre: Action, Sci-Fi | Run Time: 90 min | Rated: R
Director: Luc Besson | Starring: Scarlett Johansson, Morgan Freeman, Min-sik Choi

By: George Wolf of

Nearly ten years ago, Wedding Crashers taught us the best response to “people use only ten percent of our brains” is…”I think we use only ten percent of our hearts.”

Still, writer/director Luc Besson bases his new film Lucy on that old urban legend, and what might happen if someone could suddenly flex four, five or even ten times more grey matter muscle.

A ridiculous premise doesn’t have to sink a film, and this one actually gets off to a solid start as Lucy (Scarlett Johansson) unwillingly becomes a drug mule for ruthless Korean kingpin Mr. Jang (the always fascinating Min-sik Choi).

Jang’s henchman surgically stash a bag of his new product into Lucy’s abdomen, but the pouch breaks when she suffers a beating. In just minutes, the drug settles into Lucy’s bloodstream and begins opening countless new cognitive horizons.

It doesn’t take long to realize how much better this film is because of Johansson. She provides the terror-filled vulnerability to make us care about her character early on, then projects the right amount of wonder and determination as Lucy seeks out a famed brain researcher (Morgan Freeman, straight from Transcendence) to assist in her transformation.

Besson gets busy from the outset, as quick cuts and frenetic action are interspersed with scenes of animals in the wild, reinforcing the changing roles we see between hunter and prey. While not exactly subtle, it is stylish, and downright abstract compared to what Besson brings to the film’s second act.

As his characters begin to lament how we’ve all become more concerned with “having than being,” Besson shamelessly parrots Malick’s Tree of Life and Kubrick’s 2001, apparently believing the film to be an equally eloquent statement on mankind’s past, purpose, and future.

It isn’t, but with about 50 percent less pretension, Lucy could have been a fun guilty pleasure.


Read more reviews by George Wolf and Hope Madden on

Latest Stories

in National, Sports

Lawyers for Boston Marathon bomber to argue for new trial

Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev is pictured in an undated FBI handout photo

Lawyers for Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev are due in court on Tuesday to seek a new trial for their client, who was sentenced to death in June for the 2013 bomb attack that killed three people and injured more than 260.

in Sports

Kentucky remains on top


The Wildcats are off to a 7-0 start and got 59 of the first place votes.

in Sports

Warriors’ perfect start being put to the test


Golden State extended their NBA record start to 19-0 with a narrow win over the Utah Jazz but that inevitable first defeat of the season may come sooner rather than later.

in Sports

Ravens beat Browns with touchdown off blocked field goal


Baltimore Ravens safety Will Hill gave up the tying touchdown in the fourth quarter Monday night, but he atoned for that error in a big way.

in National, World

China, U.S. high-level cyber crime talks to begin Tuesday


Top U.S. and Chinese officials will convene this week in Washington for the first round of cyber security talks following the signing of a bilateral anti-hacking accord in September.