Whilst visiting a friend in Ireland, after a lovely steak dinner by a cosy wood burning stove, she recommended that we watch a film called ‘Lucy’. I was so pleased we did.
Director Luc Besson’s approach to the film was refreshing, as he challenged the genre’s usual gender stereotypes with energy and visual inventiveness.
The film’s trailer
The film is an interesting fusion of Action, Sci-Fi and Thriller rolled into one. The film opens with all the familiar tropes of an ‘east-meets-west’ gangster/crime thriller. We see a young American female speaking with a trailer trash loud-mouth male outside an office block in Taipei, Taiwan before abruptly having a briefcase handcuffed to her wrist and becoming unwittingly caught up in a dangerous drugs trafficking scheme.
Behind the scenes – Lucy’s opening scene
From this point on, the film takes a change in direction. Lucy is a refreshing departure from the male protagonist led drugs/gangster films we’ve all become so used to. You know the type, littered with misogynistic one liners, with the main goal of rescuing/bedding/protecting the ever vulnerable and pathetic female ‘lead’. Plus in Lucy, there’s no strip club scene, that makes a change!
Refreshingly, Benson doesn’t rely on her sexuality but rather her mind and strength both physically and mentally. Although in many respects Lucy is a hardened emotionless killer after the first third, there are several moments throughout the film when Lucy makes genuine connections with overwhelming emotion and feelings of nostalgia, at one point even uttering ‘I feel everything’. The touching interactions with her room mate as well as mother on the telephone re-enforce this, showing that emotional strength and recognition are a part of higher evolution and at the very essence of what it is to be human. Often in films of this genre, females expressing emotions and feelings are linked to weakness.
Lucy’s kiss with actor Amr Waked tastes of success for female protagonists everywhere, as Lucy once more challenges the common sexualisation of women within action/ thriller genre.
Lucy: Let’s go. [she turns and starts to leave]
Pierre Del Rio: I’m not sure I could be of any help for you.
Lucy: Yes, you are. Pierre Del Rio: What for?
[Lucy walks over to him and kisses him]
Lucy: A reminder. Shall we go?
[she turns and walks off, Del Rio follows her looking a little dumbstruck]
I find this section of the film particularly powerful as it challenges the status quo of gender stereotypes at several levels. Firstly, the male ‘love interest’ recognises that he is unable to be of any help/ use to her, she then initiates the kiss, and finally owns her reasoning.
The character of Lucy quite simply chooses to keep Pierre Del Rio around, not because she needs him, but because she wants him (and not in a sexual way). The end of the film turns slightly more sci-fi and abstract in it’s visual approach as we leave the physical world of today and enter a series of vignettes of times past. This allows us to be led through a thought provoking sequence where Lucy intelligently philosophises about the nature of time, matter and perception. This film is refreshing and most certainly worth a watch. This blog post was written by by Emily Cook