Given people’s desire to dump money on all sorts of self-improving pills, superfoods, fitness trackers, and life hacks, it’s no wonder that Hollywood has taken to neuroscience’s most persistent myth — the idea that humans only use one-fifth of their brains. Way back in 1996, John Travolta gained access to the rest of his and learned to levitate things in Phenomenon; a few years ago Limitless’ Bradley Cooper took a “smart pill” and used his new brain power to get super-rich playing the stock market. Now, with Lucy, France’s most blockbuster-ready director Luc Besson takes a stab at the 100 percent human.

Besson’s augmented main character, having tapped into her full potential, is oddly inhuman for someone who’s supposed to be her fullest possible self. The titular Lucy, as the film goes on, is able to do amazing things — levitate, for one. But in Besson’s world, using more of your brain makes you increasingly abstract, so the more amazing Lucy’s powers are the less she seems to enjoy them. In trying to reconcile this cool, mechanical version of the brainiest human, the movie grafts together elements of a madcap spy thriller and an oblique, existential riff reminiscent of Terrence Malick’s Tree of Life.

Scarlett Johanssen’s Lucy begins as a pretty, vacant undergraduate bar-hopping her way through a semester in Taipei. As the movie opens, we find her being pressured by a Bono-lookalike she’s been seeing into delivering a package. Obviously, the hand-off is not to go well for Lucy, and she’s shortly being dragged into a black marble hotel room, split open in the "lower tummy" region (the brisk black-market surgeon’s term, not mine), and packed with drugs she’s to deliver abroad.