Where is the CPH4

Lucy (2014)

Count-up for the party girl

A film review by Gregor Torinus

"We only use ten percent of our intellectual potential" - how often have you heard or read this sentence somewhere? The sentence is often ascribed to Albert Einstein, but experts who are familiar with the life of the physicist deny that the physicist ever uttered these words. But because it sounds so handy and the stupidities and nonsense of this world so well summarizes, it is not only the Scientologists who have taken it upon themselves, but also Luc Besson, who is based on this thin hypothesis, which even brain researchers strongly contested has built a new film.

However, anyone who thinks that they have to trash the entire film due to this scientifically dubious premise is ignoring two things: On the one hand, with such an approach, an estimated 80 percent of film history and around 95 percent of the current output on the cinema screens would have to be forgotten forever hand over. Because cinema is also (and sometimes even in the best case) magic, a game with basic assumptions, seductive or terrifying variants, a celebration of the untrue, constructed and fictional. And secondly, Luc does Bessons Lucy - once you've swallowed the Einstein's toad - it's just a lot of damn fun.

A reverse countdown acts as a dramatic pacemaker with a built-in turbo. Instead of like at one time with Fritz Lang (who used this counting method for his film Woman in the moon from 1929) to end at zero, the heroine strives for the end when she reaches 100. To be fair, this Lucy, played by Scarlett Johansson, doesn't start from scratch, but (like all of us) at ten percent. Maybe even at 9.9. Because the way this Lucy stumbles through Taipei at the beginning of the film, still visibly marked by the last long night of partying, you can get the idea that the alcohol and other ingredients have nibbled away some brain cells. Perhaps it is because of her desperate condition that she lets a very brazen acquaintance trick her into delivering a suitcase with unknown contents to some obscure "business people" in a hotel - of course, that she is really in a mess afterwards. In the suitcase there is a new synthetic miracle drug called CPH4 and it has to be brought to Europe as inconspicuously as possible, which is why the men around Mr. Jang (Choi Min-sik) forcibly recruit the deliverer as an intercontinental courier and sew the fabric into her abdominal cavity . But because their guards do not take the careful care of their wards so seriously, the bag with the blue crystalline substance bursts and sets off a fatal chain reaction. Because CPH4, which is modeled on an endogenous hormone, causes the remaining 90 percent (or 90.1) to be activated step by step - and this Lucy is striving for a godlike state that no person before her has ever achieved . It goes without saying that with these superpowers, which gradually unfold (including telepathies and telekinesis), she can escape her captors, who of course will not give up and track down the fugitives. During her research, she came across the neuroscientist Professor Norman (Morgan Freeman), who is currently giving a lecture in Paris and who is probably the only person who can still help her. A breathless chase begins and a race against time, against the curse of 100 percent.

The start of Luc Besson's new film is a masterpiece of narrative economy: A few brushstrokes are enough to mark the future heroine as a "female drifter", where nothing, nothing at all, indicates that she will one day become a superhuman superhero becomes a quasi-deity. Scarlett Johansson as a being of the highest wisdom - someone had to come up with the idea first. Although the film initially splits into two parallel and rhythmically opposing narrative strands, which at the end continue to converge, almost everything seems to be from one piece. Here action and contemplation, science fiction and (sometimes somewhat banal) philosophy, speed and standstill, physicality and spiritual development combine to form a fascinating mixture at times, which Kubrick lively (at this point you can already hear the chorus of critics shouting "Da Vinci Code." ! "and" What presumptuousness! "), the Wachowskis and, above all, extensively quoted himself.

In between, Besson interweaves observations of nature that appear as if the Discovery Channel had commissioned the cinematic pantheist Terrence Malick to create clips that illustrate the meaning of life. Thank God - and this is certainly due to the film's breathless rhythm, the Frenchman fails to copy the American's epic breadth and slowness. Nevertheless, in these passages, all of which are assigned to Morgan Freeman, an almost unpleasantly instructive tone prevails in some moments, but which is mostly promptly put in its place by the next action scene. A little is Lucy (This means the film and not its protagonist) itself like a drug intoxication: Not necessarily following the laws of logic, the frenzied process has a pull that you cannot avoid, at least for the duration of the film. Only then do the illogics of the film, its mannerisms, its pathos, its booming poserism dawn - and that almost comes close to a real hangover, a "cold turkey": In the heat of the moment, in the dream room of the cinema, you are happy to be ready to embark on this crazy trip with all its own weird coherence.

The disillusionment comes early, fast, and hard enough. But that's just how cinema is. Judging by it is Lucy not necessarily the smartest film - but a damn fascinating one.

(Joachim Kurz)
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As Aristotle said, one must not believe everything that is presented on the Internet as the wisdom of a famous person. The statement attributed to Einstein that we only use 10% of our brain comes from pre-Internet times. Only Einstein was not a brain researcher, but a physicist who said, with no humor, "God doesn't play" and, secondly, the brain researchers still have no idea how consciousness actually gets into the brain. To state this ignorance as a percentage would be a little exaggerated.

France's imaginative filmmaker Luc Besson, on the other hand, is completely painless when it comes to logic. The lover of strong female characters and improbable stories created with the one-woman army Nikita 1990 the prototype of all almost superhuman fighters. In 1997 Besson crossed this threshold The fifth Element. His new heroine was only humane in appearance, but in reality a futuristic-mystical marvel. The story was pure nonsense, but due to the very earthly appearing protagonists self-deprecating enough that one could simply enjoy the film as an extremely over-the-top pop spectacle. Now the crazy Frenchman is about to take the next cinematic evolutionary leap. The same difference on the normality scale that between Nikita and The fifth Element exists, also exists between The fifth Element and Lucy:

The American party girl Lucy (Scarlett Johansson) is studying in Taiwan. After a night of partying, she meets her dodgy friend Richard (Pilou Asbaek). Before Lucy knows it, he has tied a silver suitcase with dubious contents to her arm with a handcuff. Now Lucy has to hand this suitcase over to Mr. Jang (Choi Min-sik) against her will, as only he has the key to her handcuffs. It turns out that there are four plastic bags with blue glittering crystals in this suitcase. The substance is synthetic CPH4, a substance that is produced in tiny amounts in the womb and initiates an enormous developmental boost in the unborn child. In higher doses, CPH4 acts as a euphoric drug that is set to become the new hit on Europe's party scene. Mr. Jang has Lucy and three other involuntary couriers sew a bag of the substance into her abdominal wall. Due to a misstep by one of his employees, Lucy's pouch tears and a fatal overdose of the substance escapes. As a side effect, the remaining 24 hours with Lucy gradually activate the 90% idle mental capacity ...

... Even the famous brain researcher Samuel Norman (Morgan Freeman) cannot imagine what that means. He knows, however, that unlike humans, dolphins develop a full 20% of their mental capacity. That is the reason why the clever mammals have developed an extremely precise endogenous echo sounder system. - Applied to humans, this would roughly mean that high intelligence goes hand in hand with enhanced eyesight. - In an illogical way, Lucy's constantly increasing intelligence is not expressed in an improvement in her logical abilities, but in the increasing development of supernatural and superhuman abilities. - The physicist and wheelchair user Stephen Hawking, who is often seen as Einstein's successor, would certainly like it if this thesis were even only 10% true ...

However, none of this is a problem for the French cinema magician Luc Besson. It's just that the angry CPH4 in Lucy's brain not only gradually cracks all mental barriers, but to the same extent also undermines the laws of logic. Around Lucy As a viewer, you should therefore assume that Besson designed this film from the start as a completely unbelievable camp grenade, against yourself The fifth Element acts a lot good and honest. In this context, however, it is very irritating that Lucy constantly trying very seriously to underpin the humbug shown "scientifically".

As with The fifth Element is also Lucy a poppy and pathetic story of creation. The name of the protagonist alludes to the oldest humanoid skeleton found so far, named "Lucy" by scientists. This original Lucy is also presented in a rather poor animation in a way reminiscent of the Stanley Kubricks opening 2001: A Space Odyssey remind. Lucy, embodied by Scarlett Johansson, is now also making an evolutionary leap, which is in no way inferior to that from ape to human. It is not without reason that Luc Besson chooses a miracle drug, of all things, that is produced during pregnancy. However, the effect is as if the monkeys had not learned to speak, but to read minds and then learned to fly. - In the end, of course, these are all small-minded considerations that the true fan of audiovisual overwhelming cinema brushes aside with a snap of his fingers. That is why you should simply reduce the modest 10% personal capacity utilization to 1%. Then almost a small masterpiece is revealed here:

Even the cast is absolutely top notch. With the out Oldboy known Choi Min-sik as Mr. Jang Lucy about the most charismatic antagonist in a Besson film since Gary Oldman turned into Léon - the professional Throwing pills grimacing madly. The always excellent Morgan Freeman is the raving brain researcher Samuel Norman so convincing that one would almost like to relieve him of the nonsense he sells. No wonder: after all, the exceptional actor previously dealt with the almost equally nonsensical sci-fi cucumber Trancendence intensively prepared for this role. Scarlett Johansson in the lead role is the ultimate Lucy in several ways: Until recently, Woody Allen's blonde muse had loved to feed the press with such earth-shattering remarks as that she likes her boobies. That gives her credibility as the initially slightly underexposed party mummy. Most recently she was in as the erotic voice of an "operating system" Her made the evolutionary leap into superhuman artificial intelligence. And then there is the sad thing about her lead role in Jonathan Glazers Under the skin - sad because Scarlett, as a man-murdering alien, does not regularly come to German cinemas. - And the rest? - Indescribably overwhelming visual cinema magic!
 

Source: www.kino-zeit.de/film-kritiken-trailer-streaming/lucy-2014