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Depending on your take-away of the visual inventiveness and jam-packed plot that drives Limitless to peaks and valleys of preposterous fun, drugs are either a terrible scourge or the fundamental solution to all of life's problems. Limitless isn't exactly a morality tale, but the made-up drug that turns Eddie Morra (Bradley Cooper) from a scuzzy loser into a master of the universe does become a metaphor for ambition, menace, devastation, and ultimate success. Eddie is a writer who can't write, his girlfriend (Abbie Cornish) just dumped him, and his squalid lifestyle has driven him to the breaking point. After a chance meeting with his mysterious ex-brother-in-law, he's offered change in the form of a little transparent button, a pill code-named NZT that allows the user to access 100 percent of their brain. After he pops it, Eddie is transformed. Everything he's ever heard, seen, glanced at, or passed by becomes neatly ordered in his mind. He has total recall, total access to knowledge both known and unknown, and he understands exactly what to do. Without the ingenious visual effects that frequently push the bounds of innovation, our view of the alteration of Eddie's drug-induced reality would fail utterly. When his synapses snap from every new hit, the sparkling blue of Bradley Cooper's eyes pops off of the screen, the colors and textures of his reality ripple and zoom with his every move. Of course he needs more of the drug to maintain his progression, not to mention his very life--remember, kids, drugs are addictive!
The movie throws tangled clumps of plot threads against each other in a whizzing mass that incorporates Russian gangsters, shadowy surveillance figures, cops, lawyers, and a couple of murder mysteries. It's a hurtling progression of narrative tangents that often echo the physical and mental extremes Eddie experiences when he's either on or off the drug. Sex, society, and money are big parts of Eddie's newfound brainpower, and he exploits them all. The money element leads Eddie to a big-shot investor, played with twinkling irony by Robert De Niro. The sparring matches between Cooper and De Niro are some of the best parts of the convoluted and manic pace that drives Limitless inexorably onward. Abbie Cornish is relegated to the sidelines far too much, and the suspension of disbelief required to simply maintain stride with the movie's frenzied velocity is often exhausting. But there are some bigger themes that director Neil Burger and writer Leslie Dixon try to sustain in spite of repeated absurdities meant to be accepted at face value. Eddie's actions are both vile and redemptive, and Cooper gives a rousing performance as he bounces from being contemptible to irresistible, sometimes all at once. Fortunately, Limitless is itself redeemed by the nifty visuals that often do evoke the effects of a drug that promises perfect clarity. It's best to just forget the ludicrous lack of coherence and enjoy it as a wildly entertaining trip on a perfect drug that offers the potential for payback and infinite salvation. --Ted Fry
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Top Customer Reviews
If you can get over the noisy background the primes is pretty good. I would not want to presume on telling the producers how to improve this film but it is really too much like those soundbite documentaries were they do not complete a thought before moving on to the next thought.
Basic story is Eddie Morra (Bradley Cooper) a going nowhere would be writer who stumbles in a situation where he obtains a substance that allows him to utilize parts of his brain that were previously unreachable. Now we are off and running. Where is the substance coming from and are there any side effects. Watch and find out.
If you can get over the noise there are a few fun spots where you can put yourself in the situation.
The Dark Fields by Alan Glynn
Edward has writer's block. He has a book contract for some reason, yet hasn't written a word. His girlfriend, who was his meal ticket leaves him. Bummed out he decides to go live on a bunk bed at Dad's place in New Jersey, but then bumps into his ex-brother-in-law, who is a drug dealer. He offers Edward a pill that increases a person's use of their brain. They can recall everything they have seen or read and can correlate it to increase intelligence. The smarter a person is to begin with, the more data they have to work with. Edward is a smart guy to begin with, so he is able to start his book. The downside is that the pill wears off. Not only does one lose the abilities, but they get a little ADD, and throw up like a heroin addict. Too much of the pill causes a Mr. Hyde type of character including blackouts. Edward's supplier is murdered and Edward finds his stash of pills and a wad of cash.
Edward uses his ability to make money on Wall Street. He catches the attention of big time corporations as well as the Russian mafia. He quickly finds out people who take the smart pill eventually die from either taking too much or running out. Edward must try to balance his life.
I loved the concept. I loved how they did the drug effect with simple but effective camera tricks. Anyone who has come down off of cocaine, LSD, or heroin knows how Edward feels and he portrays a man coming off drugs very well.
I even liked the ending, although the last few minutes should have been stretched out.
Directed by Neil Burger
Starring Bradley Cooper, Robert De Niro and Abbie Cornish
20th Century Fox | 2011 | 105 min | Rated PG-13 | Released Jul 19, 2011
Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC
Video resolution: 1080p
Aspect ratio: 2.40:1
English: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1
French: Dolby Digital 5.1
English SDH, French, Spanish
Single 50 GB Blu-ray Disc
The Film 4/5
Eddie Morra (Cooper) is a loser. He looks like he sleeps on the streets and his girlfriend is his main source of income while he struggles to write a novel. He lives in a seedy apartment and is more likely to be eating pizza and drinking alcohol than working on his book. His girlfriend (Cornish) finally decides it's time to leave, but Eddie's life is about to change for the better.
In a chance meeting with Vernon, the brother of his ex-wife, Eddie is offered a pill. He's suspicious because Vernon was dealing drugs the last time the two met. After thinking about it, Eddie decides that life can't get much worse and takes the pill. Within 30 seconds, he starts to feel different. The color palette changes from dull and muted to bright and clear and represents the change in Eddie.
We are told that we use a fraction of our brain on a daily basis. The pill is supposed to enable us to use one hundred percent of our brain. Eddie finds that he can think clearly and work out solutions to difficult problems. He writes a book in four days without pausing to think how the plot should progress and his editor loves the result. We see him learn how to play piano and become fluent in the Italian language.Read more ›
Most recent customer reviews
I've loved this movie since the first time I saw it, and the extended and unrated cuts are great.Published 20 days ago by Mitchell K.
Although this movie did not get rave reviews when released, I thought it was great. The energy-packed soundtrack really adds to the build up in the beginning.Published 2 months ago by Jane