Movie Review of Limitless (2011)

Eddie Morra is an aspiring author who is suffering from writers block at the moment. His girlfriend is about to leave him and his life has pretty much hit an all-time low. This is when he stumbles across an old friend who shows him a new drug called NZT, which lets you access your full potential.

Intense from the first shot
Limitless is one of those films that has great writing, editing, cinematography, acting and plot. It pulls you in from the first moment, when we see Eddie standing on the brink of his expensive skyscraper apartment, assailants breaking down his door and his internal monologue making witty little quips as it ruminates on the event unfolding. The camera angles are intense and show off every important detail. The music, the lighting and even the cold assessing way he thinks about the neighbor being shot because he opened his door on the bad guys in the hall just set the tone for the film.

We then leap back to how it all started, back to when he was at that aforementioned low. Cooper really does this character justice; he can play desperate and pathetic and jump to charming and intelligent at will. Watching him try to write is both a moment of pitying pathos and cruel humor.

The script is great in Limitless. Eddie, who has reached the full potential of his brain, fires off lines reminiscent in quality of films like The Social Network. Other characters both major and minor have brilliant lines, even when the points of view switch around. Actors and actresses such as Abbie Cornish, who plays Eddie’s girlfriend Lindy, and Robert De Niro, the mega-mogul Carl Van Loon, are simply excellent in Limitless.

Gorgeous visuals
The cinematography and editing of this film are superb. The way the film throws the visuals at you is clever and beautiful, conveying exactly how his mind is running. Whether it is showing the roof twist and turn into a numbered screen that moves with his thoughts or the reflection of Eddie jumping around points in time and phasing in and out of sight, you can tell how he is doing. The opening credits are rather eye-bending and the quality of the effects do not diminish throughout the film. Even the way he remembers details is abstract. It is really the level of quality you wish that the ‘flashes’ from the TV show Chuck were.

A complex and well realized plot
But the star of this show is the plot. As Eddie gets smarter, as he gets richer, things become risky. He takes Wall Street in a storm of thought and charm, seeing the patterns in every sale and transaction. Threads of story coalesce, every one of them vital to the story. Limitless is intense, action-packed, and worth every minute of your time. It is especially great to see him blitz the financial field. Eddie is an untrained, unknown guy who suddenly helps broker the largest merger in corporate history; it is surreal.

Despite the intensity of this film, it is funny and enjoyable and easy to follow. Bradley Cooper is charming and humorous and it all just comes together into a great experience. I would recommend this film highly to anyone who is a fan of thrillers, speculative fiction, or even action and comedy.

The movie is based upon a book called The Dark Fields by Alan Glynn, which was rereleased with the title Limitless to coincide with the film adaptation directed by Neil Burger.

About Ashik Ibrahim

Ashik is fond of fine coffee, tea and books. He is also amenable to bribes (See prior sentence for ideas). He spends his time coasting through life on his charm, intellect and appalling arrogance. Ashik's favorite authors include Kevin Hearne, Lev Grossman, Brandon Sanderson, George R R Martin, Jim Butcher, Scott Lynch, and Douglas Hulick.

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One comment

  1. I thought this movie was pretty good, though my expectations were rock bottom given DeNiro was in it and he’s been churning out garbage for years now. It would up being less on-the-nose than I thought it would be, which was good, because Hollywood has a nasty habit of that when it comes to sci-fi. Or maybe I just have selective memory.

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