No one wants to become an addict to damage himself. Everyone becomes addicted to something because of the promise of becoming hipper, cooler, suaver, smarter and perhaps even more charismatic. Now let me stop myself from ripping off the prologue of BATMAN VENOM, and let us discuss director Neil Burger’s “Limitless”. It does have an interesting premise, as the screenplay by Leslie Dixon brings a story about a wonder drug that allows someone to access all the functions of one’s brain. Nope, it doesn’t give one telekinesis, telepathy or other mind-based powers, but rather the film tries to make a commentary about how we go about our lives. Quite an interesting premise really and the potentials for originality appear ‘limitless’ (pun intended), but unfortunately the film behaves more like an action picture and uses devices that we’ve all seen before. The film itself is very limited.
Eddie Morra (Bradley Cooper) is a writer who lives in New York whose luck seems to be taking a serious misdirection. He is experiencing writer’s block, his before-supportive girlfriend (Abbie Cornish) has broken up with him and he lives in a dilapidated apartment (one good thing about it is his landlord’s young wife). One day, Eddie bumps into his ex-brother-in-law Vernon Gant (Played by Johnny Whitworth) and gives him a sample of drug called NZT-48 which allows the user to access 100 % of his brain functions. Eddie is immediately hooked, as his life seems to be taking quite a lot of surprisingly beneficial turns. Eddie becomes a millionaire almost overnight, and he seemed poised to be backed by the best financial institutions in the business led by Carl Van Loon (Robert De Niro). But when things are too good to be true, it usually is too good to be true. Eddie soon finds himself in a very compromising situation with the Russian mob and he also soon finds out the dangers of this new wonder drug….
First, let us discuss the positives of the film. Cooper was surprisingly charismatic as Eddie Morra; perhaps he wasn’t entirely convincing but he was able to carry the movie. Much of the film relied on his ability to command attention, and while he wasn’t 100 % consistent, he was able to hold my attention for most of the movie’s entirety. Director Neil Burger had undeniably crafted a fast-moving film that could potentially keep the viewer on their feet. I liked some of the way the film managed to do quick editing and certain points of the film did feel cool. It moved, and it did feel like we were moving along with Eddie Morra, we were able to see this world through his eyes and the world seemed like it moved along with him.
The thing is, all of this seems superficial at best, and what had the potentials for originality became something we have seen before. It is the manner the story was told, and even when it had the right stuff, Burger opts to take the film on a level that seemed like an action movie. Eddie is brought into this world where complications seemingly that stemmed from the dangers and greed for this wonder drug, and yet it does nothing with it. There is a man in a beige jacket, there’s the Russian gangster, and then, it tries to make a commentary about human greed. Morra was given certain complications, but these complications didn’t prove to be much of a challenge; they were too easy for someone to face up to them that I wondered why he would even need the wonder drug. It also doesn’t help the film’s screenplay much when the supposed antagonists were underdeveloped and most of them felt like mere caricatures. For a movie about a drug that gives limitless intelligence, the issues in the film sure was limited. It was the same old dull thing for me.
The drug itself was somewhat a little too convenient. I mean, sure, who made it and why was made clear but it also made me question one other thing. How come the makers or the financers of the drug didn’t use the drug? Really, this is a drug that was supposedly effective it does have its side effects, but really, what drug doesn’t? Ok, it is illegal, but no one stopped anyone for taking illegal drugs. Eddie's past relationship did take the drug, but then it hardly does anything with it. I am not sure, I found the credibility of the narrative rather boring, and it opens up too many holes in the script; it all feels that it is merely touching upon its devices. The writing was very uneven, and it seemed pressed to be a mainstream spoon-feeding rather than try to go into the messages of human behavior, greed and addiction. I guess you can say that for a film about intelligence and addiction, it proved very easy and unchallenging. The stakes all felt rather contrived and made up for me.
That said, the film does have its entertainment value. There were some scenes that did make the film, and it did have some areas that made it fun. “Limitless” isn’t a bad movie at all, but rather it is rather limited in execution and scope. It had an inspired premise but the way it was told was a little too blah; what happens is we get a movie that is very forgettable and could’ve been a small made for TV film with an uninspired script.
This is my new express review format since there's more to say about TV commercials these days than most films. It's a super-sexy new format that will help you save time, get to the good stuff, and wish you were reading something else all at the same time. Limitless has the most egregious use of voice-over in modern cinematic history. It's actually the only film you can watch on a radio since Bradley Cooper tells you exactly what he's doing every two seconds. It's … more
**1/2 out of **** What is there was a pill for instant awesomeness and intelligence? This is a question that Neil Burger's "Limitless" attempts to give some insight into, with a plot that involves such a drug and the many people that could make use of it. He does well in adapting the novel, "The Dark Fields", for his film; which is fast-paced, fun, entertaining at the core, and even a bit intriguing. I like the set-up used here, and I like the actors involved. They each do … more
'Limitless' directed by Neal Burger and written by Leslie Dixon is based on the novel The Dark Fields a riveting, high-concept thriller written by (Andrew Dunn). Both the film and the book asks the question: What would you do if you could take a pill that makes you smarter - as in...beyond genius, smarter? Well for Eddie Morra (Bradley Cooper) an unsuccessful writer with major writer's block, … more
LIMITLESS Written by Leslie Dixon Directed by Neil Burger Starring Bradley Cooper, Abbie Cornish and Robert De Niro Carl van Loon: So, Eddie Morra, what’s your secret? Eddie Morra: Medication. Drugs are bad. While that is generally the rule, how can anything that allows you to access the full potential of your brain actually be bad for you? Well, it can if the mere idea of it inspires … more
Star Rating: Oscar Wilde is one of the most quotable writers I know of, and I’m pleased that reviewing Limitless has given me the opportunity to mention one of his best witticisms: I am so clever that sometimes I don’t understand a single word of what I am saying. Screenwriter Leslie Dixon and director Neil Burger should have had that quote engraved on a plaque and hung over their office doors, for it would give passersby an idea of what to expect … more
15 - 105mins - Mystery/Thriller - 23rd March 2011 Soon to be released on the 23rd of March, Limitless focuses around the life of writer Eddie Morra (Bradley Cooper) a man who is heading nowhere fast in life; he is most definitely in the slow lane. The book he's currently working on has reached healthy zero words after an extended spell of writers block and his love life is trending down a similar road. Cue a chance encounter with an old acquaintance and the discovery of a way to escape … more