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Plot Details: This Review Reveals Minor Details About the Plot.

War (while) on Drugs (CPH4)


Plot Overview

Director Luc Besson preps the movie consumer with opening shots of: a cell dividing etc., a pre­his­tor­ical ape-man (Lucy), a cheetah, some gazelles, and a mouse. Ready to think out­side the box, we're taken to modern Taipei where 25-year-old Lucy (Scar­lett Johans­son) is being pres­sured by her no-good boy­friend (of a whole week) Richard (Pilou Asbæk) to deliver a locked attaché case to the building they're standing in front of. Richard had a falling out with the recipients. This is inter­cut with shots of a mouse­trap. The audience wants to shout to her: Don't do it!

I'm thinking of the mousetrap my land­lady gave me to catch the shrew that had taken up residence in my place. The wire loop on it would come down and break the critter's neck. Not a good idea with a shrew. They've got beneath the skin a gland that emits a stinking odor once broken. It's recom­mended to use a professional exter­minator on them, but I just used the brains God gave me and built me a home­made trap to capture and release it. Worked just fine.

The boyfriend prevails and she presents herself and her business to the desk clerk who calls up (in Mandarin Chinese) to Mr. Jang (Choi Min-sik) who comes down with his Korean-speaking toughs. Oh-so! This is inter­cut with scenes of a cheetah stalking then chasing a gazelle. The cheetah relies on its fast initial burst of speed once it has crept close enough. The gazelle would out­distance it in long distance running. Also a cheetah has not got the strong jaws of a lion; it must wrestle its prey down in a choke hold before doing it in.

Former FBI agent turned novelist Gene Riehl has given us the following description: (67)

North Korea. Division 39 … operate[s] out of a building near the Russian embassy in Pyong­yang. [According to] the piece in the Wall Street Journal, Division 39 was a slush fund, a holding company of businesses set up to funnel money directly to Kim Jong Il. … ¶The secret arm of Thirty-Nine—the illegal activities directorate—is modeled on the Russian mafiya, … Illegal arms smuggling, robbery and extortion, currency counter­feiting. But the biggest money­maker is drug smuggling.

Want to bet there's not drugs in that attaché case? Lucy becomes a mule with a plastic bag of super drug CPH4 surgically implanted in her abdomen, and she gets treated none too kindly. A kick to her belly breaks the bag open (“I'm leaking”) and the drug sends her brain into over­drive. Inter­cuts with brain researcher Prof. Norman's (Morgan Freeman) lecture on the untapped potential of the human brain accompany the action to Paris where in league with French police captain Pierre Del Rio (Amr Waked) she leads her pursuers on a merry car chase through the crowded streets as if she's following Siri on steroids although she has never driven before in her life. The viewer, depending on his frame of mind, will be observing either gigantic beginner's luck, amazing pop science, or nifty special effects.


“Lucy” is replete with (interlocking) allegories. When trapped, Lucy prays, “Please, God, help me.” When the drug in her starts to expand her memory, she phones her mother thanking her for all the love she showed her growing up. Such filial devotion is scarcely found even in the very religious following the decalogue's injunction to honor one's (father and) mother. Since we're in the realm of allegories, of God answering prayer, and of honoring one's mother, might we not look for some mani­fes­tation of the Virgin Mary here? Both Mary and Lucy had some­thing to deliver (among ecstasy and suspicion): in the former case, the Christ child, in the latter case, supposedly some papers, i.e. some words (on paper), but then the Christ is also the Logos, the word of God. Mary delivered hers from a virgin body, and Lucy from a case chained to her body (wrist), which didn't get there by having sex with a man either—she and Richard had only dated a week.

Ordinarily I might think that a stretch, but the Bible in fact intercuts Mary's story with allegories in the vision of St. John the Revelator: In Rev. 12:1-2 Mary appears as a cosmic “wonder in heaven” after having “travail[ed] in delivery.” Then in Rev. 12:3-4 a “great red dragon” pursues her, as, say, the cheetah pursued the gazelle. Mr. Jang has dragon tattoos.

Prof. Morgan's numeric tallying of the effect of expanding one's mind can correspond to the sanctification of the Virgin. I refer to visionary Maria Valtorta's writing of 16th August 1944, “Jesus says”:

Purity has such a value, that the womb of a creature can contain the Uncontainable One, because She possessed the greatest purity that a creature of God could have.

The Most Holy Trinity descended with Its perfections, inhabited with Its Three Persons, enclosed Its infinity in a small space. But It did not debase Itself by doing so, because the love of the Virgin and the will of God widened this space until they rendered it a Heaven. And the Most Holy Trinity made Itself known by Its characteristics:

The Father, being once again the Creator of the creature, as on the sixth day of Creation, had a real, worthy daughter fashioned to His perfect image. The mark of God was impressed so completely and exactly on Mary, that only in the First-born was it greater. Mary can be called the Second-born of the Father because, owing to the perfection granted to Her and preserved by Her, and to Her dignity of Spouse and Mother of God and Queen of Heaven, She comes second after the Son of the Father and second in His eternal thought, which ab aeterno took delight in Her.

The Son, being also “Her Son”, did teach Her, by the mystery of Grace, His truth and wisdom, when He was but an Embryo, growing in Her womb.

Every woman who becomes a mother has in her a spark of the divine, corres­ponding in this plot to a minute hormone released at the sixth week of pregnancy that energizes the fetus' development, which hormone the director dubbed CPH4. Mary had more grace because of the Christ child in her, then He would have taught her while He was growing up, and finally Mary would have profited from His ministry to His apostles, the sent ones, until she achieved 100% sanc­tif­i­cation showing man­kind his potential as did Lucy in the movie.

Production Values

“Lucy” (2014) was written and directed by Luc Besson. It stars Scarlett Johansson, Morgan Freeman, and Min-sik Choi, each playing his part to perfection, and Johansson showed her versa­tility. The strength of this movie is its editing running at a gallop to finish in 90 min., with inter­cuts to develop back­ground science and parallels in nature, and riveting CGI. It's run so fast that one just swallows the science whole while digging the action. The cinematography, editing, music (by Eric Serra), and visual effects combine to produce some awe­some surreal images.

Review Conclusion w/ Consumer Recommendation

I found this one to be a really exciting action movie with lots of suspense­ful tension and mind-expanding philosophy. It's more than run-of-the-mill, and if it over­reaches with the science, at least it doesn't over­reach with the run time. Not for kiddies, but adults will like it.

Movie Ratings

Action factor: Edge of your seat action-packed. Suitability For Children: Not Suitable for Children of Any Age. Special effects: Absolutely amazing special effects. Video Occasion: Fit For a Friday Evening. Suspense: Keeps you on the edge of your seat. Overall product rating: Five stars out of five.

Works Cited

Riehl, Gene. Sleeper. New York: St. Martin's Press, 2005. Print.

Valtorta, Maria. The Gospel as Revealed to Me. Vol. 1. Translated from Italian by Nicandro Picozzi, M.A., D.D.  Revised by Patrick McLaughlin, M.A. This 2nd English Edition has now replaced the First English Edition, The Poem of the Man-God. WEB.