Weeks ago a friend of mine invited me to see Lucy (2014) a film starred by Scarlett Johansson and Morgan Freeman, and Directed and Produced by Luc Besson. Even I am fan of early filmography of Besson like Le Dernier Combat (1983), Leon (1994) and Le Grand Bleu (1988), I was skeptical to attend, because of the recent disappointing work of Besson and the awful critics that were spinning around the net. Anyway, we went to the cinema.
The film is an action-packed movie in the style of the latest works of the director that exploits the unsubstantiated premise of the “hidden capability of the brain,” From my point of view, the movie was plagued with lousy synedoches, of the actual action interacting with footage of wildlife that instead of proposing a new understanding of the scene, only acted as pleonasm interrupting the continuity of the movie. Anyway I know Luc will not read (or care) about my cinematic perception, so let’s skip the cinematographic analysis.
With regard to the story, Lucy is kidnaped by some bad people and used as a Mule, to transport the new drug that enhances the capability of the brain. Using the power granted by using the drug, Lucy manages to escape her imprisonment and her main objective in the rest of film is to recover the packages inserted in the other mules and save them… ten minutes later she accomplished the task with the help of her new abilities. The problem is, that happens about half of the film. So speaking in terms of storytelling, if the character doesn’t have a purpose, it doesn’t have sense to exist.
I think this is the point when the movie lost me. And from that point ahead the movie rambles without sense until the main character becomes a USB key at the end of the movie. Judging the movie by the archetype of Heroine, the movie fails terrible.
Weeks later I was pin-balling some thoughts and Lucy came into my mind, and I judged it in the opposite way. What if Lucy instead of being the heroine, was the enemy? The antagonist?
This is a weird idea but think about: When Lucy saves the other mules, she could have walked away home and have a peaceful life. Instead, she changed her goal, and her only objective was to devour the entire drug batch by herself, in the most egoist action that movie history has seen—even considering Trainspotting for those junky-film addicts. (Following the rules stablished by the movie) Why not allow that humanity to increase its brain capability by 1%, when she can eat the whole thing and increase her capability by 100%?
The Korean gang leader—labeled as the bad guy—his only desire is to share that drug (knowledge) with the people and charge for ir—a fair enterprise—, but its detained by the selfish motives of the antagonist, Lucy, and the manipulated authorities (cops). Makes better sense now?
Most of people will argue that Lucy “sacrificed” herself for science (or at least was the intention of the movie to portrait), but I ask, with what purpose?
The corner stone of the story in the movie is when Lucy with her recent powers acquired can travel in space-time and then is able to present herself to “Lucy” the Australopithecus Afarensis the iconic first woman in our genealogical tree, and say—figuratively—“I am your God.”
That is when the circle completes.
At the beginning of the movie, a douchebag romantically related to the main character, convinces Lucy to do the gig—delivering the drug without knowing—and for convince her, he mentions that saw the first “Lucy” (depicted as the horrible monkey-like woman image) in the museum. Obviously the similarity causes a negative reaction on her, because she doesn’t find herself related to that ugly beast.
This is how the movie deals with her egoist pursuit to prove herself better than anyone, until the point of becoming the God of that she hates so much of her personality.
This is what I call the Lucy’ Complex: The desire of humankind to mold itself to the image of the God we worship—or at least the image we think it has—alienating ourselves of who we are truly are.
I have said many times that human beings have the power to become Gods, because we collectively share the creation process, but the problem is what image we have of God.
Most of the people believe in a divine figure living in a paradisiac place that beholds the creation with omniscient presence and power. But they cannot explain how His will manifest in the ordinary lives, and have trouble explaining why their God was not present in the moment of hardship. If you fuse this two perspectives we have an omnipresent but inactive God.
Then I say to the people, “Why to worry? Go on and be happy, you are a God now.” And they reply “what do you mean?” and I say: “You sit in the comfort of your house, created and decorated at your wish—your personal paradise—staring at the TV that grants you omnipresence to behold the entire world and the universe, and remain inactive no matter what the screen displays. You must be a God, at least the God you believe in, the God you crafted.”
This provides the foundations for the second question that Lucy’s Complex proposes: Is human crafted by God at his image? Or is that we craft the image of God and then we try to fit ourselves in that divine yet incomplete image?
In the movie, when Lucy gained omnipresence, she was sitting on a chair switching channels that allowed travel in time (just like we do on TV), but she was passive, inactive, only witnessing… she didn’t changed anything, not transformed lives, not even the people around her (there is a scene when she speaks to her mother.) Her greatest achievement was to be stored in a 16 gigabyte USB device as information hopping to endure the pass of time and somehow—no one knows—be useful…. That is why movie fails.
What is the image of what we want to become? Is truly that of the God we worship?
Are you planning to search for the answers of those questions, or your will stay on the couch witnessing the creation inactively the whole day?
M. Ch. Landa