Lucy ★★★½

If Godzilla can be categorized as a "post-human" blockbuster, then surely Lucy can be considered a blockbuster of the "post-intellect" variety.

What sticks out with this movie is not so much its inherent dumbness (the hogwash science, the predisposition for senseless violence over emotional heft, the cheap "rape threat" gimmickry upon which the story pivots), but the confidence of its presentation. One review I read lambasted this movie for making "easily Googlable" errors of fact. Indeed, the ignorance at play here is willful. So willful, I'd argue, that only the biggest fuddy-duddy could misconstrue this as anything other than a big ol' wink from Luc Besson to his audience.

Besson's made some baffling movies in his career, but I don't think the integrity of his style can really be put into question. He is one of the few filmmakers who can employ such a hyper-modernized film language -- the music video cutting, the bafflingly heavy-handed cross-cutting, the pulsating music, the video game-like plotting - while never forgetting that he is making, first and foremost, a movie. His filmmaking technique is far more intelligent than the content he is serving.

This is why I don't quite buy - though I do understand - dismissals of this movie for committing the crime of stupidity. Lucy, to me, is less an intellectually barren text than it is a sly denunciation of the erosion of our collective interest in our world. The thing’s about as insightful as a film adaptation of a 9th Grader’s book report on Ulysses, but at least it's on to something.

The movie responds to an epoch where information is largely accumulated not through the impetus of curiosity, but instead fed (opiated?) to us via meticulously composed algorithms and self-flattery that tell us (the digestible) half of a news story, a revealing pop culture personality quiz, or what what star-rating you would give, in your infinite wisdom, to some silly movie.

We have alleviated ourselves, Lucy argues, of the pesky onus of curating the information we let into our own brains. What matters to us, ultimately, is that humans only use 10% of their brain, that vaccines cause mental retardation, or that the 90’s sitcom character you best resemble is Uncle Jesse. It doesn’t matter that not one of these statements is scientifically accurate; they all hit at a sublime truth. They become facts, and we become informed by them.

Lucy simply takes the un-Googled hogwash of others, and gamely rolls with it. If you really think the movie’s the stupid one for predicating itself on such bullshit, then try not to bemoan its existence too greatly. Simply take solace in knowing that the film director you best resemble is, in all likelihood, not Luc Besson.

Justin liked this review