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Friday, March 18, 2011

Movie Review: LIMITLESS


Limitless is a 2011 dramatic thriller directed by Neil Burger. It follows Eddie Mora (Bradley Cooper), a down-on-his-luck writer who's struggling to make his deadlines. When he randomly meets his former brother-in-law Vernon (Johnny Whitworth) on the street, Eddie receives a new type of drug that allows a person to access one-hundred percent of their brain capacity rather than the supposed twenty percent. After reluctantly taking one pill, Eddie immediately understands its power and needs to have more. When he goes to visit Vernon, he finds him dead in his apartment in what appears to be murder. Eddie searches the apartment and finds a massive stash of the pills and takes them for himself. He starts to take them once a day, and the changes are drastic. He finishes his book in four days, learns new languages, and so on and so forth. Eddie finally decides to make some money off his newfound brilliance, entering the world of stock broking. When he amasses over two million dollars in a matter of days, he catches the attention of Carl Van Loon (Robert De Niro) a major player in the stock market scene. Van Loon signs Eddie onto his team as they're attempting to merge with another company. Around the same time, however, Eddie's stash starts to run low, and he starts to have problems focusing and maintaining his high level of function. He learns that if he stops taking this drug, he'll die, so his life quickly becomes a race to finding any possible means to stay alive.

I'm not really quite sure where to start with Limitless. I went into the film not expecting a whole lot, but I thought I'd get a little bit more than I was ultimately given. The issue wasn't really the acting. I mean, there's nobody that's standing out. I think Cooper does enough to prove that he can hold his own as a leading man - such a statement has been up for debate as of late - but I'm not sure that Limitless is really going to be the final proving point for that argument. De Niro is decent in a limited role, but he hasn't been stellar since the mid-1990s, in my opinion. Abbie Cornish is also okay in her supporting role as Eddie's girlfriend Lindy, but she isn't really given much room to work with her character. I could go on for a while about each individual character, but it would ultimately be fruitless. This movie is really Bradley Cooper's vehicle, and he does well, but there was no way he could've ever done enough to make this a winning flick.

The basic storyline behind Limitless is actually a rather intriguing idea. To think that a drug could allow a person to access their entire potential brain activity is an astounding thought indeed. However, there would have to be consequences to such activity, and that's addressed within the film. The reason that people on this drug tend to get sick and die is because their brain simply cannot handle that much time functioning on such a level. So, although the whole idea may seem a little far-fetched, it's an interesting idea nonetheless. The issue, however, comes with the screenplay, which proves to be confusing and convoluted. Early in the film, I chalked my confusion up to the filmmaker's attempt for the audience to feel the same emotions as Eddie, and confusion seemed the most logical. As time went by, however, I found myself still unsure of just what was going on. Time bounces around a lot in this flick, and it was difficult for me to keep up with everything that was happening. In addition, the visual effects - which tie into the screenplay, in case you're wondering - prove to be a little bit of a sensory overload and only add to the confusion. While on the drug, Eddie will go hours and even days without recalling what had happened, but it happens so often that it seems like there's just too many holes within the actual story.

I could probably talk about this movie for a little bit longer, but I don't really think it deserves my time. It wasn't really a film that appealed to me. All of the visual effects seemed a little too trippy, and it all only added to my overall confusion with the entire film. It's not the worst movie I've ever seen, but it's nowhere near redeemable, in my opinion. Perhaps if you're a fan of Bradley Cooper, you'll be able to stomach it all; otherwise, I'd avoid this one if you can.

Movie Review Summary:
Grade: D
1.5 Thumbs Down

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