Lacking focus or motivation to put any effort into his unfulfilled book contract, slovenly and disheveled writer, Eddie Morra (Bradley Cooper), plummets to a new low when his long time, successful, girlfriend (Abbie Cornish) finally gives up on their relationship. Knowing things cannot get any worse for him, Eddie does not think twice about trying a not-exactly-legal wonder drug supplied by his ex-brother-in-law. Thirty seconds after popping this clear round tiny pill, Eddie’s world forever changes. Writer’s block disappears and Eddie realizes he wants more of the brain-enhancing, yet not fully understood, NZT pill. The more he learns about the pill and feels its effects, the more he wants and the more he fears what this drug, or lack of drug, could do to him or those around him.
Based on the novel, The Dark Fields, LIMITLESS is an entertaining ride, full of new ideas, unique cinematography and interesting storytelling techniques. The filmmakers made NZT seem extremely desirable and a tiny thought of ‘what could I accomplish if I had a pill like that?’ continued to creep into my subconscious throughout watching this picture. The visuals associated to the brain function Eddie possesses are brilliantly done. The bright, crisp picture and enhanced colors made the drab and depressed looking Eddie feel vibrant. The combination of TV or movie sequences mixed with his subway fight scene made for an entertaining comparison. The visual of letters and words falling all around Eddie maximized the effect of his thoughts pouring out; seeing his writer’s block conquered through the help of NZT was a powerful visual. Another amazing visual was the changing ceiling tiles during the financial investing montage.
Which leads me to the brilliantly conducted montages. There were a multitude of moments highlighting the doors that opened to our lead character once he was hooked to NZT. But oddly, they didn’t seem to be overdone or without merit. Those montage moments helped propel the story forward and keep me interested. What did feel a bit overdone were the scenes I’ll call ‘tunnel vision’ (where the exact same scene was used over and over but it felt like you were zooming through a tunnel). Those moments were an interesting part of the storytelling technique but after the first few I was over that method and was ready for another montage.
This film definitely propelled Bradley Cooper to the next level of actor in my humble opinion. In LIMITLESS Cooper plays a little bit of everything; from drama to action we see it all in this thriller. The transformation from ‘down and out Eddie’ to ‘ambitious Eddie’ was drastic yet organic all at once. Plus, if you were not aware, Bradley Cooper is easy on the eyes, which was an added bonus to this already entertaining picture. Top notch job Mr. Cooper.
Robert DeNiro played his part well, but nothing to write home about. As a veteran in the industry it helped having his name associated to this film but I was not blown away by his time on screen, which was minimal. He did, however, have nice on-screen chemistry with Cooper which seems like an easy feat as both actors ooze charisma.
Overall this film pleased. It was entertaining and kept me glued to the screen but it left me wanting more from the story. As in, parts of the film felt like filler and I wanted more substance. Having said that bit of caveat, if you are in the mood for an entertaining thriller, watch this movie.
Video (2.40:1): The visuals were perfect and a huge part of the storytelling.
Audio (DTS – HD Master Audio 5.1): Great audio for all the dialogue and for the break-in at Eddie’s high-rise.
Commentary: A typical movie commentary from director Neil Burger.
Man Without Limits (4:29 ): An interview with Bradley Cooper, director Neil Burger and producers and costume designers on this film with a look into transforming the book to screen.
Taking It To The Limit: The Making of Limitless (11:38): This is an interesting making of featurette. Not only do we get a typical making of from those creating the film, we also learn about the assorted cameras and film used to create the contrast between the Eddies. Worth the watch.
Alternate Ending (5:14): Really happy the filmmakers did not use this ending. Didn’t flow as well as the one they selected.