Limitless is fantastic! I am still excited about this movie even a week after screening it. It is without a doubt, the best movie I've seen in long time. The film stars Bradley Cooper (The Hangover), who proves that he is more than capable of carrying a movie of substance; he is definitely leading man material and I almost need not mention that Robert De Niro has a supporting role in the movie, because Cooper is the one to watch. Limitless is his movie. Aside from Cooper, what I love most about this film is that I can't quite grasp it, put my finger on it, or compartmentalize it. Not in the least.
Cooper's character, Edward Morra, is a shy introverted writer who turns into a successful corporate big-shot due to the magic of a little pill called NZT. Eddie first got a taste of the black market pill from his shady ex-brother-in-law who offers it to him to help him overcome a writing dry-spell. After one pill, Eddie is, of course, hooked but he is addicted to more than just a high. He is hooked on being the most successful version of himself. With the pill, there is nothing he cannot accomplish and in accelerated time no doubt. While he is on the drug, Eddie can use all of his brain's capacity as opposed to just the mere fraction of it that we all use on a daily basis. First off, he finishes the book he was struggling with in a mere four days, and from there he becomes an overnight success as a stock broker and begins working for the most powerful man in the business (enter De Niro). However, the NZT drug is experimental at best, and of course Eddie eventually discovers the side effects as well as the downside of being dependent on a pill for his success.
Aside from the top-notch suspense and action, the film does a great job of dropping us the audience, smack dab in the center of it all. We nearly go to all of the places that our drugged up main character goes. The screen lights up and we are taken on a bullet-train into the character's mind while he is on the drug. I literally lost my stomach (roller coaster style) a few times, which I'll chalk up to as incredibly good cinematography. Another outstanding aspect of the film is the contrast of Cooper's character when he is on the drug versus when he is off the drug. We can immediately tell what state his character is in simply by looking at his eyes. They are dark and soulless when he is not using and wide and bright when he is. Cooper does an excellent job of reeling us in, making his presence known, and making us care about him. He is the reason that we become so invested in this film, so much in fact that we are even willing to overlook those moments when he is morally challenged.
The complexity of the film keeps the story moving along and makes it impossible to guess what is going to happen next, and there is way too much conflict to be resolved in a neat and tidy wrap-up. It also takes us to some dark places, but we definitely need to go to them. There are some graphically violent scenes that I had to watch while covering my eyes, but they are no deal-breakers to the film's likeability. This movie is that crazy vivid dream that you are almost scared to wake up from, and definitely not to be missed.
Rating: THREE AND A HALF BONES
Release Date: March 18th, 2011
Starring: Bradley Cooper, Robert De Niro, Abbie Cornish, Andrew Howard, Anna Friel, and Johnny Whitworth
Director: Neil Burger
Writer: Leslie Dixon