Movie Review: Limitless

Posted by on March 18, 2011 at 10:00 am

Don’t you kinda hate it when you watch the trailer for a film and in the studio’s attempt to sell you on the concept of the film, you get that gut-twisting feeling they may have told you everything? I thought Limitless would be one of those films. Thankfully, it isn’t. Writer Eddie Morra (Bradley Cooper) is a bit of a bum. He’s living off a book advance that currently amounts to a document with a word count of 1. He’s sloppy, his girlfriend is leaving him, and he has a hard time connecting dots in simply explaining the concept of his book to others. That is, until he meets his drug dealer of a brother-in-law, Vernon…

Eddie doesn’t even want to meet Vernon, it’s been nine years since he was married his sister “for five minutes” and all that’s behind him. Vernon shows him something special as a pick-me-up: NZT. Normally $800 a pop, this clear pill is a free gift that he promises will fully unlock Eddie’s mind. Confronted in the stairwell by the landlord’s cute wife, who proceeds to rip him a new one for not being able to keep up on rent, Eddie pops the pill as an escape and the trip begins. After impressing said cute wife (in more ways than one, ifyaknowwhatImean), he becomes a changed man, his life changing dramatically. Waking up the following morning no longer under the influence and back to his normal, dumb self, he decides he needs more.

Stylistically, the film isn’t what I was expecting at all, as it comes off as a more clean-cut, rags-to-riches film in the trailer. Instead, Limitless takes more of a psychological thriller angle as Eddie must now manage his drug intake and its manifesting side effects, maintain a supply of the pill, manage his relationship with his ex, handle the loan shark who helps him on his meteoric rise to financial power (while also impressing an Wall Street executive, played by the over-billed Robert De Niro), and evade the people who were chasing Vernon for the drug. Limitless is a smart film all around. Director Neil Berger nails the transition these characters experience as their world unfolds before them, ready for the taking after experiencing the drug and while I had always played Bradley Cooper off as merely a comic actor, he’s exceptional here as the multi-layered Eddie Morra. There are plenty of twists and turns to keep you hooked, and although they make for the bulk of the movie’s soggy middle third, the film is a definite recommend.

8/10 FleshEatingZipper

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