Friday, April 6, 2012

Review | Limitless

Smart and enjoyable, though its brain needs fixing if it was to use 100% of itself.

Movies around drugs often revolve around a message that is absolutely moral and absolutely true in our society: they are bad for you, even when you think it'll do some good for you. And almost every movie I see that contains drug reference or use do not have an opposite meaning. Limitless is the latest example with 50% of that message, but 50% of using it and you'll become a better man.

Bradley Cooper is Eddie Morra, a New York loser who cannot make ends meet. He wants to be a best-selling author, but every idea he has in mind vanishes leading him to lose his girlfriend Lindy (Abbie Cornish) who's fed up with his emptiness. He then stumble upon his ex brother-in-law Vernon and taking pity on Eddie, he gives him a tablet (the size of a miniscule contact lens) called NZT that will enable him to access 100% of his brain, taking out the theory that we can only use 20%. The NZT works and Eddie becomes a ideal man men wanted to be. Not only does he finish his novel in a fast amount of time, he becomes at the top of the stock trading game gaining the attention of corporate tycoon Carl Van Loon (Robert De Niro) and also brought his girlfriend back. However with the NZT, there would be fatal consequences Eddie would face as more people are willing to do anything to grab the drug

The movie starts with little belief that we would buy Cooper as a man who's out of everyone's league in terms of lifestyle and financial status. And while that happens I would imagine someone other than Cooper playing Eddie who would face the transformation in the series of events. Someone who young but doesn't have a fair amount of looks. Once he takes the NZT for the first time, the movie gains some momentum. Coincidentally the movie is almost similar to David Fincher's Fight Club. Both films use the same story structure, carried and driven by voiceover and trippy visuals respectively to illustrate a metaphorical package given to the average man to change his life and becomes a person who would be accepted in society as a result. But for both movies they contains a Pandora's Box where spontaneous events occur and not in a good way.

Based on the novel The Dark Fields director Neil Burger creates adrenaline rushing shots with fast-paced editing ranging from several montages of Cooper living the life whilst on the NZT, several zoom ins of streets and New York, a jump-cut including a pulse-pumping scene where he's a one-man army fighting off thugs in a subway and cinematography which changes when he's either on it or isn't.

The Matrix 2.0 officially installed

While I never thought of Bradley Cooper to have the versatility of a leading man, Limitless however turns it around strongly proving that Cooper is more than just looks. His chemistry with a fine form Robert De Niro also have certain strong points as De Niro makes his character as if he was the Head of the Five Families and the Head of the Five Financiers. I should mention that Abbie Cornish is also good, although she seems a bit underused.

The focus though is the drug where it provides Eddie limitless potential to rehabilitate his life and certain abilities he would never gain. What it also illustrates is what you get that considered unbelievably substantial is not a privilege but more of an emergency.

With that said, the final 10 minutes of Limitless wrapped up in another direction to which would've been cut out because it doesn't feel that believable and that there wasn't a message delivered. Overall we just get a series of events without a beginning or end that would fit.

Though Limitless is not even award-worthy nor a cinematic achievement, it is an enjoyable and smart thriller filled with suspenseful moments that at least achieved its purpose and retained its intriguing premise of a smart drug.

B+ (7.7)

1 comment:

  1. Similar to Fight Club? This film just moved up a bit on my "to see" list. terrific review