The actress’s new action thriller is a trippy combination of silly and smart. Warning: Spoilers ahead!
Scarlett Johansson began 2014 by wooing Joaquin Phoenix with just her voice in Her, and, in the months since, she turned her sex-bomb screen persona inside out as a predatory alien in Under the Skin, indulged Jon Favreau's ego as his co-worker fuck buddy/personal cheerleader in Chef, and presented the Black Widow as a nuanced, rounded co-star even if Captain America: The Winter Soldier wasn't her movie.
And for her next and latest trick, Johansson takes on the title role in Lucy, opening this Friday. The future stoner classic you hadn't realized the summer was missing, written and directed by The Fifth Element's Luc Besson, is an incredibly silly movie about such non-silly topics as the meaning of existence and trans-humanism. Lucy follows ScarJo's eponymous character, an American party girl studying in Taipei, who begins transforming into a superhuman after an accidental overdose of an experimental drug. Struggling with the major questions of existence — like, Why are we here? — doesn't preclude Lucy from also kicking some ass, stunt driving through the streets of Paris, and stopping gun fights with her mind.
Basically, it's a movie ideally watched through a THC haze and here's why.
It starts at THE DAWN OF MAN.
Like 2001, a movie to which it totally should not be compared, Lucy begins at the beginning...of mankind. It starts with a glimpse of one of the earliest human ancestors we have physical evidence of, squatting in a stream. That hominid's nickname? Lucy. Think about it.
John Holmes and Ian Tattersall's "Lucy" diorama at the American Museum of Natural History/Denis Finnin / Via images.library.amnh.org
It's about the meaning of life.
"Life was given to us a billion years ago. What have we done with it?" Johansson intones over the opening prehistoric images, staking out some awfully ambitious philosophical territory for an action thriller.