April 1, 2011
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This year has been a rather lackluster year so far for film. Very few movies have been fun, even fewer were well-made. With exceptions to The Lincoln Lawyer and Cedar Rapids, everything has felt mediocre at best. Limitless, directed by Neil Burger, is just as good as those two; a film better than most of the market’s current options.
Limitless stars Bradley Cooper as Edward Mora, a writer struggling to overcome writer’s block that is delaying the finishing of his book. His life is a mess, and he can’t seem to get anything done. But after a random encounter with his ex-brother-in-law, Mora’s life turns around. He takes a pill called NZT and his world opens up. Where he could already access a normal part of his brain, NZT gives him complete use of his gray matter. His learning curve becomes unnaturally fast and he finds himself exponentially more productive.
Everything starts to come back around. His girlfriend, played by Abbie Cornish comes back and he moves up multiple tax brackets from his day trading. After he gets a chance to work for a big company, problems arise. What happens when the drug runs out?
Cooper does a great job in a simple and fast-paced film. He embodies the role with earnestness and lets the film develop around him. Fortunately, the script and direction can keep up with him and make the film a completely absorbing film.
One interesting detail was the correlation between his hair length and power. The less hair, the more powerful. I found it a nice but bizarre touch.
The film is really intriguing. The concept of a wonder-drug that could make us super smart is a great plot device. Though based on the book of the same title, the movie feels complete and competent on its own. Though the film has some flash and spectacle to its shine, the strength is Cooper’s performance. Nothing in this film feels forced and the ending doesn’t cheat the rest of the narrative like many films do today. A stylized but engaging film, definitely one to watch. 3.5 out of 5 stars.