Lucy (2014 film)
Lucy is a 2014 French-American high-concept science-fiction action film about a woman suddenly forced to work as a drug mule developing extraordinary mental and paranormal abilities after a packet of a newly developed synthetic drug called "CPH4" breaks inside of her body.
- Written and directed by Luc Besson.
- Life was given to us a billion years ago. What have we done with it?
- Opening lines
- I feel everything. Space, the air, the vibrations, the people, I can feel the gravity, I can feel the rotation of the Earth, the heat leaving my body, the blood in my veins. I can feel my brain. The deepest parts of my memory.
- Speaking to her mother on a phone, as she has a doctor operate to remove the drug packet from her body.
- Learning's always a painful process. Like when you're little and your bones are growing and you ache all over. Do you believe I can remember the sound of my own bones growing? Like this grinding under the skin. Everything's different now. Like sounds are music that I can understand, like fluids. It's funny, I used to be so concerned with who I was and what I wanted to be, and now that I have access to the furthest reaches of my brain, I see things clearly and realize that what makes us "us" — it's primitive. They're all obstacles. Does that make any sense?
Like this pain you're experiencing. It's blocking you from understanding. All you know now is pain. That's all you know, pain.
Where are the others? The others carrying the drugs. I need the rest of it. For medicinal purposes.
- To Mr. Jang, as she extracts from him the knowledge of where the other packets of CPH4 are.
- I can start to control other peoples bodies. Also I can control magnetic and electric waves, and — not all of them, just the most basic — television, telephone, radio. … I don't feel pain, fear, desire. It's like all things that make us human are fading away. It's like the less human I feel, all this knowledge about everything, quantum physics, applied mathematics, the infinite capacity of the cell's nucleus, they're all exploding inside my brain. All this knowledge. I don't know what to do with it.
- Explaining to Professor Norman some of her abilities as she reaches 28% of her neural capacities.
- We never really die.
- Casual response to Pierre Del Rio, when he states he doesn't want to die, as Lucy starts to drive his car against traffic.
- Every cell knows and talks to every other cell. They exchange a thousand bits of information between themselves per second. Cells join together forming a joint web of communication, which in turn forms matter. Cells get together, take on one form, deform, reform — makes no difference, they're all the same. Humans consider themselves unique, so they've rooted their whole theory of existence on their uniqueness. "One" is their unit of "measure" — but its not. All social systems we've put into place are a mere sketch: "one plus one equals two", that's all we've learned, but one plus one has never equaled two — there are in fact no numbers and no letters, we've codified our existence to bring it down to human size, to make it comprehensible, we've created a scale so we can forget its unfathomable scale.
- Indicating some of her perspectives on human concepts of measurement and distinction.
- Time is the only true unit of measure, it gives proof to the existence of matter, without time, we don’t exist.
- Summarizing her perspectives, as she prepares to reach 100% of her neural capacities.
- I AM EVERYWHERE
- Statement after reaching 100% of her neural capacities.
- Life was given to us a billion years ago. Now you know what to do with it.
- Last lines
- One neuron, you're alive. Two neurons you're moving. And with movement, interesting things begin to happen.
- The dolphin did not invent the sonar — it developed it, naturally. And this is the crucial part of our philosophical reflection we have today: can we therefore conclude that humans are more concerned with "having" than "being"?
- If its habitat is not sufficiently favorable, or nurturing, the cell will choose immortality, in other words, self-sufficiency and self management. On the other hand, if the habitat is favorable, they will choose to reproduce — that way, when they die, they hand essential information and knowledge to the next cell, which hands it down to the next cell, and so on. Thus knowledge and learning are handed down, through time.
- Lecturing on his newly published research
- For the moment it's just hypothesis, I confess. But if you think about it, its troubling to realize that the Greeks, the Egyptians and the Indians had notion of cells centuries before the invention of the microscope. And what to say about Darwin whom everyone took for a fool when he put forth his theory of evolution. Its up to us to push the rules and laws, and go from evolution, to revolution.
- Lecturing on his newly published research
- If you're asking me what to do with all this knowledge you're accumulating, I say, pass it on … just like any simple cell, going through time.
- To Lucy
- Richard: [after handcuffing Lucy to his delivery case] I'm sorry, I really have no choice. The sooner you go in the sooner you'll be back out.
- Lucy: I can't believe you're doing this to me!
- Richard: I'll be right here, you have my word.
- Lucy: Your word isn't worth shit!
- Richard: It's worth 500 bucks, up front.
- Lucy: You’re an asshole.
- Richard: You're wonderful.
- Professor Norman: But now we are entering the realms of science-fiction, and we don’t know any more than the dog who watches the moon.
- Student: Excuse me sir.
- Professor Norman: Yes?
- Student: But what would happen, if for some reason we ignore, somebody unlocked 100% of the cerebral capacity?
- Professor Norman: One hundred percent?
- Student: Yes.
- Professor Norman: I have no idea.
- Surgeon: Pregnant women manufacture CPH4 in their sixth week of pregnancy — in tiny quantities. For a baby, it packs the power of an atomic bomb. It's what gives the fetus the necessary energy to form all the bones in its body. I'd heard they were trying to make a synthetic version of it — didn't realize they'd succeeded. If it really is CPH4, in this quantity, I'm amazed you're still alive.
- Lucy: Not for long.
- Lucy: [on phone] Professor Norman, my name's Lucy, I just read all your research on the human brain — we need to meet.
- Professor Norman: [laughs] All my research? Wow, I'm very flattered young lady, but I find that hard to believe. I must have written no less than—
- Lucy: Six thousand seven hundred thirty four pages. I can recite them to you all by heart, if you wish.
- Professor Norman: Are you one of Emily's friends? This sounds like one of her silly jokes. Is she there with you?
- Lucy: [suddenly appearing on his television screen] No, I'm on my own.
- Professor Norman: [stunned and puzzled] Who are you?
- Lucy: I just told you.
- Professor Norman: [still hesitant and puzzled] Uh, Lucy, right? Yes. Sorry.
- Lucy: I read your theory on the use of the brain's capacity. It’s a little rudimentary but you're on the right track.
- Professor Norman: [meekly] I thank you.
- Lucy: Professor, my cells are reproducing at a phenomenal speed, several million per second. I'm having trouble precisely evaluating the time of my death, but I doubt if I'll last more than 24 hours.
- Jang's agent: That girl doesn't quit. She is a witch.
- Jang: I know that. I will kill her myself.
- Professor Norman: [as Lucy prepares to inject herself with all the remaining CPH4] All this knowledge, Lucy — I'm not even sure that mankind is ready for it. We're so driven by power and profit. Given man's nature, it might bring us only instability and chaos.
- Lucy: Ignorance brings chaos, not knowledge. I'll build a computer and download my knowledge in it. I'll find a way for you to have access to it.
- Professor Norman: Yeah … I just hope … we will be worthy of your sacrifice.
Quotes about Lucy
- Pierre Del Rio: What happens when she reaches 100%?
Professor Norman: I have no idea. But she is the key — to everything.
- This dialogue does not occur in the film, but was widely disseminated through the International trailer for the film.
- This film is extremely visual. It is difficult to describe in words without running the risk of losing or boring the reader.
I have come up with a simplified summary, therefore, like a readers guide, which will conjure up the images in as few words as possible :
- — the beginning is Leon: The Professional
- — the middle is Inception
- — the end is 2001: A Space Odyssey
- Don't interpret this as pretension on my part, merely a visual, emotional and philosophical point of reference.
- Luc Besson, in his "NOTA" for the film, as quoted in "Luc Besson's Statement Of Intent For 'Lucy' Compares The Film To '2001,' 'Inception' & 'Leon The Professional'" by Kevin Jagernauth, in Indiewire (28 July 2014)
- I think Scarlett Johansson is going to become our new alien overlord – of Earth, and life as we know it — based on Her, in which she plays a sentient computer system that ends up expanding to fill the universe, based on Under the Skin in which she plays an extraterrestrial creature attached to some sort of hive-mind, and definitely based on Lucy, Luc Besson's new movie. … She plays the sort of average American dimwitted student in Taiwan who accidentally ingests a new drug that allows her to access a hundred percent of her brain — which turns her into, by the end of the movie — I don't want to give too much away, but basically — she's God, by the end of the movie.
- As she goes through her changes, the heroine’s demeanor changes from scared to awed to . . . preoccupied. Maybe even a little robotic (and here the similarity to Under the Skin seems overt). Cursed and blessed with a giant throbbing brain, the poor woman multitasks away, searching the cellular data she can see streaming from our phones (it ascends to the skies like multicolored marionette strings), typing on two laptops at once, and generally taking care of ontological business while the other characters pester her like gnats.
Make that heavily armed gnats. … It’s all ridiculous and enjoyable, and at the movie’s center is an actress creatively guessing at what omniscience might feel like. I don’t know any other movie star going where Johansson has gone lately — certainly among the crop that sells magazine covers — and it’s probably beside the point asking whether she’s tired of the standard roles offered to pillow-lipped young actresses or is actively engaged in exploring the outer limits of power and perception. Of classic stars it was said “They had faces then.” Well, Johansson has a brain, and it appears to be expanding at an alarming rate. Somebody call the professor.
- Johansson plays Lucy as a mouthy hanger-on who’s transformed into a ninja Carrie White in The Matrix. Chinese assassins move fast, but she moves faster. She’s not, I should point out, a vigilante avenger. She’s beyond human emotion. It’s true that someone accessing, say, 50 percent of her brain probably has more cerebral things to do with her time. But in a way, this is cerebral. She throws one glance at the advancing hordes and it’s a bloody Busby Berkeley ballet of flying bodies.
- I think it is such an interesting imagination Luc has going on there … We always think and hear terms like, "We only use 10 percent of our brains" but did anyone ever imagine what it would be like if you could use more? So here comes Luc imaging what could happen if you could use more … With Luc Besson you have a knock-down, drag-out action film but then you have one that also makes you feel and think … It gives a little spark to your imagination to say "What if? What would I do? How would it be?"
- Lucy cleverly capitalizes on Johansson's ascent by placing her in the lead of a movie that takes the best elements of Limitless and The Matrix, and develops them into a unique action property.
- David Mumpower, of Box Office Prophets, as quoted in "Brainy 'Lucy' muscles out 'Hercules' at box office" by Scott Bowles in USA Today (27 July 2014)
- There’s a refreshing lack of bull in Lucy. Two minutes into the movie, the titular heroine, a twenty-something raver (Scarlett Johansson) is forced by a d-bag boyfriend (looking like the world’s worst Bono imitator, complete with red sunglasses and cowboy hat) to deliver a mysterious package to a Taipei crime lord. Five minutes in, she’s sliced up, stuffed with the package’s contents — a potent new mind-expanding synthetic drug — and turned into an unwilling mule. Ten minutes in, a kick to the stomach leaks the drugs into her system, rebooting Lucy into a real-world, super-blonde version of Neo from The Matrix. It’s a superhero story that tells the origin tale with an economy and conciseness that’s been lacking through this whole movie summer. Actually, it’s been lacking in these types of movies for a while. Remember how long the Ang Lee version of Hulk took to get to the action? Yeah, Lucy presents the exact opposite.
After that quick introduction, Lucy stays pedal-to-the floor for all of its brisk 89 minutes, as the newly-empowered Lucy sets off to track down the rest of the cartel’s unwilling mules, all while the drug unlocks more and more of her brain’s potential (with the bad guys chasing after her). … She busts out and guns down her captors like Rambo. She mind-melds into a brain like Spock. She flings around the cartel bad guys like Magneto, feels living life-forces like Luke Skywalker, drives like Jason Bourne and even jumps through time and space like Doctor Who. Who needs Iron Man, Thor, Captain America, Hawkeye and the rest of the Avengers? Lucy could demolish them all, and probably Batman and Superman and Wonder Woman, too. She could take care of the next two movie summers with no trouble at all.
- Set five minutes into the future, Lucy is about the birth of a new kind of superhero. With Scarlett Johansson playing our eponymous ninja with mental superpowers, there's a lot of fantastic action here. … Director Luc Besson is a genius when it comes to visual flair and action, so the action scenes (when we get them) are great. And the first act of the film is possibly one of my favorite superhero origin stories ever. Lucy is a college student in Taipei whose loser boyfriend tricks her into delivering a mysterious suitcase to an even more mysterious group of Taiwan mafia guys. Of course, they immediately kill her boyfriend and then drag her to a hotel room full of other dead people. This whole sequence is fantastic, with Lucy totally out of her depth and Besson interspersing the action with weird nature footage of animals eating each other. The tone is frenetic, ironic, and ultra-comic booky. … For anyone who listened to Johansson's sultry AI voice in Her, the role she plays in Lucy will feel like a reprise — except instead of being a machine who convinces us that she's human, here she's a human who is slowly becoming a machine. The more of her brain she uses, the more she needs to merge with a computer. Eventually, we learn that her destiny is to become an AI of sorts. Which means that she's one of those superheroes with an expiration date, able to kick ass for only a short time before evolving into something incomprehensible and irritatingly mystical.
It's this plot point that drives the movie, flailingly, toward an attempt at having a grander message than "kick ass, warp reality, and look damn good."
- Fans of Johansson's patented flat affect — put to better use in Under the Skin and Marvel's The Avengers — will enjoy Lucy, as too will the kid from your college dorm who ate too many mushrooms that one night. … Nothing much happens in Lucy — the plot on a pinhead: Scarlett Johansson gets roped into being a drug mule for a crime boss in Taipei, and after ingesting her parcel becomes a near deity — but since it's shorter than some commutes, who cares?
This is probably a spoiler, but in a movie as confusing and downright weird as Lucy, spoilers are relative.
- Christopher Rosen "These Are The Best Parts Of 'Lucy'" (25 July 2014)
- She has the Power
- The average person uses 10% of their brain capacity. Imagine what she could do with 100%.
- Scarlett Johansson - Lucy
- Morgan Freeman - Professor Norman
- Choi Min-sik - Mr. Jang
- Amr Waked - Pierre Del Rio
- Pilou Asbaek - Richard
- Analeigh Tipton - Caroline
- Frédéric Chau - Jang's agent
- Julian Rhind-Tutt - the Limey