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Lucy: brainpower without limits

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It is believed humans currently use just 15 per cent of their brain capacity – imagine what would happen if we could reach 100 per cent.

Lucy (Scarlett Johansson) is having a bad day. In the wrong place at the wrong time, she is accidentally caught up in the dealings of an international drug cartel and forced to smuggle its highly experimental new drug. When the bag bursts inside her body, the drug leeches into her system, awakening the dormant parts of her brain and allowing her to access abilities and memories far beyond normal human capacity.

With her brain activity firing towards 100 per cent, Lucy sets out to get revenge on those who wronged her, enlisting the help of bewildered French detective Pierre Del Rio and noted scientist Professor Norman (acting veteran Morgan Freeman).

Directed by Luc Besson, Lucy is a visually stunning examination of human potential and raises some interesting questions. Johansson tackles the emotional demands of her character with ease as Lucy transforms from fragile young woman to highly advanced super-human. As her abilities grow, Lucy’s demeanour becomes almost robotic, yet there is a hint of frailty in her desperate attempts to form physical and emotional connections to Del Rio and Norman.

Freeman delivers another standout performance as Professor Norman, whose theories about the human brain are severely challenged by Lucy’s increasing abilities, while Amr Waked is amusing as the hapless detective Del Rio.

Clever scriptwriting enables the plot (which has clearly been heavily influenced by scientific studies into the brain) to unfold at a natural pace. Professor Norman’s opening lecture about the brain’s unlocked potential is fascinating; Bessen uses images of animals and natural disasters to illustrate the points being made, and the stunning images of erupting volcanoes and powerful twisters are a reminder of Earth’s untamed power and beauty.

Expertly crafted special effects bring the action scenes to life without filling the movie with gratuitous violence, and the time-travel sequences are particularly enjoyable.

Besson has perfectly blended elements of science fiction and action to create a film which not only entertains, but also challenges and enlightens its audience. A thought-provoking journey through the realms of the impossible.

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