Saturday, March 19, 2011

Review: Limitless (2011)

Based on the novel "The Dark Fields" by Alan Glynn and directed by Neil Burger, Limitless tells the story of Eddie Morra (Bradley Cooper), a dawdling writer who has yet to write a word of his "promising" novel. Upon crossing paths with an old friend and drug dealer, he is introduced to a pill that allows the user to use the eighty percent of their brain that usually remains dormant. Fascinated by this new drug's effects, Eddie returns for more only to discover that his dealer had been murdered. Startled, Morra searches the man's apartment in search of his stash and discovers that his friend's assassins looked over one compartment containing a large supply of the drug and drug money. Within a matter of days he had completed his book and publishers were lining up to assist him. In a matter of weeks he was advising the most financially gifted individual in America- Carl Van Loon (Robert De Niro). Though life now seems flawless, there are both those who have previously known of this drug and those who have discovered this pill through the actions of Eddie, and they all are after it. This film is exceedingly original (which is rare these days) and effectively nerve-racking. From the moment the drug is induced, the viewers themselves seek more, gnawing their fingernails and edging the tips of their seats. Though containing a strong plot and high octane energy, the lead role could have been better cast. Sure, Bradley Cooper is strapping and has had a fairly diverse early career (Wedding Crashers, Midnight Meat Train), however, in a role where we have to believe in early scenes that he isn't talented or attractive (like most 90's Sandra Bullock films) he is strongly unconvincing- much like he doesn't convince us in later scenes that he has a "four digit" I.Q. Don't get me wrong, the film works regardless, with the always assuring performance of De Niro and stout direction of Neil Burger (The Illusionist). Additionally, the film serves as a very fine portrayal of addiction- how it affects the addict and those who love the addict-- I was impressed. Though the film would have benefitted from casting such a performer as Sam Rockwell for instance, Limitless is a non-stop anxious thrill-ride that won't let go until the credits roll, earning it a solid 3 out of 4 stars.

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