Where this movie really fails is in it’s brevity. Not including the credits it’s only an hour and twenty-two minutes long. That’s far too short a time to do any substantial character and plot development. At least one of them will have to be sacrificed. In this case, it’s the characters who get the short shrift.
The movie begins just minutes before Lucy goes through her transformation. It would have been nice to have just a brief scene with her in her normal habitat – who she is, what she’s doing, what her dreams are. But we only get the tiniest of glimpses into that portion of her character.
I may be slightly biased – and that’s an understatement – but I thought Scarlett Johansson did a wonderful job of evolving her character as she went through the transformation. One thing she does particularly well is act without speaking. She can say a great deal through facial expressions and body posture without overdoing it. For instance, some actors have their “surprised face” but they overdo it. Scarlett is great at expressing both surface and subsurface expressions simultaneously: being surprised, and yet trying to comprehend what she’s surprised about.
Morgan Freeman was his usual awesome self. The gravitas he brings to his role was essential for this movie, since there was zero character development for him to work with. We’ve seen Freeman playing the authoritative role often enough that we can easily form an amalgamation of his previous characters in our minds, to help define his character in this movie. That’s poor story telling, but at least Freeman can pull it off.
In the end I wish I could give the screen writers and director a D and the actors an A. I guess I’ll average them out and give it a C+, or a B- because Scarlett is my favorite actress.