Lucy is an important case study and perhaps also a lesson to filmmakers. In essence it is a story about drug-trafficing, but beyond this, it is not afraid to pursue artisticly independent visuals and intruiging themes. The audience may find some of its content lacks the appeal they had hoped for, but nothing ever feels unintentional.
I often make the case that action films need to push the boundary in some way beyond the raw appeal of cinema fun. Lucy makes a brilliant effort in that direction with its bold aesthetics. The visuals here alternate from flashy to grim, with little regard for subtlety. However, in this case lack of subtlety is a strength. The effects can be quite jarring, and to invoke real discomfort from an audience is a brave artistic committment. Admittedly, I find some of these alterations to be disruptive, particularly during the early parts of the film. Occassionally, the tempo is thrown off by changes in plot focus. To be sure, this is more of a plot issue than a visual one, but it is perhaps exacerbated by the film’s abrupt changes in appearance.
Despite some flaws early on, Lucy‘s narrative holds quite strong. There are definitely some high thematic aspirations, but simplicity is really a key here. It is tempered in such a way so as not to carelessly overwhelm the audience. Lucy knows just how to distribute its complexity. The run time of Lucy is on the short side and this serves the film perfectly. The easy recall of early details makes the rush of the film very real when we see how far it has gone from beginning to end. Everything Lucy has to offer is meticulous; every detail is intentional.
Lucy is rigorous cinema with full impact. Occassionally, it may falter, but overall it seems to deliver on every scene just as it means to.