Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBB.5. France, 2014. EuropaCorp, TF1 Films Production, Grive Productions, Canal+, Ciné+, TF1, Filmagic Pictures Co., Element Film. Screenplay by Luc Besson. Cinematography by Thierry Arbogast. Produced by Virginie Besson-Silla. Music by Eric Serra. Production Design by Hugues Tissandier. Costume Design by Olivier Berlot. Film Editing by Julien Rey.
Scarlett Johansson has been recklessly partying in Taipei with her new boyfriend, all fun and games until he drags her to a ritzy hotel and asks her to deliver a mysterious suitcase to mysterious men because he doesn’t want to do it himself. The complicated scenario of the outstanding opening sequence, in which Johansson gives a rock solid performance, results in her waking up much later with a bag of drugs implanted in her body which she is expected to transport across borders for delivery, but before she can do this the substance inside her is accidentally leaked into her system and causes her the kind of OD that would make every rock star’s dreams come true. Instead of dying immediately, since this movie was never intended to walk hand in hand with any kind of reality, the synthetic hormone material flooding her system awakens Johansson’s brain to all of its possibilities, well beyond the ten percent that it is commonly known the average person uses (a pseudo-scientific myth that this film treats quite humorously as fact). Now this irresponsible, carefree party girl has been turned into a walking encyclopedia with complete control of cellular matter: she can change her hair colour and knock guns out of bad guys’ hands without touching them, she can even make people float to the ceiling if she wants to. While looking to get the men who did this to her, though, she also seeks out a brain researcher (Morgan Freeman) because she knows her time on earth is now limited. Luc Besson has made his most entertaining adventure since La Femme Nikita with a film whose plotting, even under the guise of science-fiction fantasy, it must be admitted is wholly preposterous. Yet while the middle section could use a little more indulgence (she really doesn’t get to enjoy her powers enough before the weak conclusion, and Freeman’s time is fully wasted), the film is far too honest about the kind of movie it is aiming to be to earn scorn for its silliness. The more ludicrous it is, the more fun it is to watch, and Johansson’s mesmerizing work makes it that much more enjoyable to behold.