Dir. NEIL BURGER
In this consumerist society, one that now has a global prowess far extending western society, you cannot escape the need to be bigger, faster stronger and even drive a faster car. I refine Chris Martin’s lyric here with the operative word need. We are constantly influenced by mass media to want things, but those wants soon turn into needs to comply with social trends and norms. In our pursuits to become the best versions of ourselves, sometimes our aspirations of grandeur are far beyond our ability, making the biggest obstacle to these goals none other than ourselves. Neil Burger’s thriller Limitless, explores the possibilities of uncapping your brain function and maximizing its capacity through the narrative of Eddie Morra a man full of potential in New York City.
Eddie Morra (Bradley Cooper) is a man who is uninspired. Unfortunately, his vocation in life is being a writer, and what is a writer without inspiration? Apparently a broke, grimey, rent skipping self proclaimed bum. Whats surprising is that his girlfriend Lindy (Abbey Cornish) stayed with him this long before finally dumping him. Groveling in self pity and contemplating his circumstance, he runs into a familiar face, Vernon (Johnny Whitworth), his ex brother in law who as Eddie remembers, used to be a dealer, but now discovers is a ‘legitimate’ pharmaceutical representative. As Eddie and Vernon catch up, Vernon sympathizes with Eddie’s situation and presents him the solution to his problems in pill form called NZT. Eddie, with heavy reluctance, but also having nothing left to lose, accepts this dubious gift. He soon realizes that Vernon’s soon to be ‘FDA approved’ miracle drug has enabled higher brain function. He goes home and finishes his book in one sitting. With this new sense of awareness, productivity and efficiency, Eddie becomes enamored with his endless possibilities. That is until he realizes the limited duration of its effects. When he returns to Vernon for more, he gains more than he bargained for and there begins his quick rise to a life lived by few, and desired my many.
If Limitless has one thing going for it, it is definitely the cool factor. Eddie Morra just became a character out of a comic book. His ability is one to be envied by all and the script definitely plays on that with lavish and hedonistic endeavors. The screenplay does such a good job of keeping you entertained with the tangibles of having a brain on steroids, that you get distracted by the fun and forget to keep an eye out for the inevitable conflict soon to be endured.
The film however is not as ambitious as its title eludes. The possibilities are endless but Burger took a safe approach with this theme and still produced specks of plot holes that appear continuously. It was shameful that Abbie Cornish didn’t play a more prominent role in the film, seeing how she is far more talented than her co-star Bradley Cooper, who for the most part, seems to have jumped out of Hangover (2009) and continued his bender. Robert De Niro takes his standard mob mentality corporate to portray his character Carl Van Loon. Not much else can be said about the performances.
The plot steers away from Morra’s writing career to more lucrative schemes. I guess being an author is suitable for a first person narrative, but not exciting enough to be told in media res. Limitless has some pretty interesting cascading camera techniques that enhance the drug theme.
Right after this film I witnessed Jon ‘Bones’ Jones the man child just three years in mixed martial arts defeat a seasoned veteran champion for the UFC Light Heavyweight title. The sign of a good thriller is its sudden influence to your reality. So in this case particular case, I should wonder if Bones sudden rise to success be in fact due to NZT? But unfortunately I wasn’t convinced. The X factors were actually his fortitude and overwhelming arm reach. However, I do believe that the film could of benefited with both Neil Burger and the screenwriter Leslie Dixon popping some NZT themselves.
[notification type=”star”]59/100 - The film could of benefited with both Neil Burger and the screenwriter Leslie Dixon popping some NZT themselves.[/notification]