25 jun. 2011

My Review: Limitless (7/10)

¨You know how they say we can only access 20% of our brain? This lets you access all of it.¨

When Limitless begins you might confuse this film with another Hangover sequel, but unlike in those movies Bradley Cooper takes a pill to enhance his life not forget about what happened last night. This pill has the opposite effect on his life, instead of getting hungover, he gets smarter. This action thriller has a very interesting premise: a drug has been discovered that allows you to use your brain to a hundred percent of its capacity. Not many people know about the existence of this pill, but Cooper`s character has been fortunate enough to get his hands on it and therefore takes advantage of the situation. The advantages don’t come without risks however and that is how the plot develops and traps us. The film is narrated in first person in order to let us know everything that is going on. The movie isn’t flawless either, the first minutes of the film are very self explanatory and leave no room for us to wonder and figure out what is happening. The beginning serves as a fifteen minute introduction to the story and we can`t help but notice this is taken from a novel.  Leslie Dixon (Mrs. Doubtfire) actually adapted the film from Alan Glynn`s novel ¨The Dark Fields.¨ The beginning seems taken straight out from the novel and it doesn’t really work in the film, but once we get past the introduction the action and thrills begin. I´m not a huge fan of having a narrator letting us know everything that is going on with the story, and in this film the opening sequence suffers from this. Neil Burger (The Illusionist and The Lucky Ones) however brings the movie back to the right direction and lets the rest of the plot play out nicely.

Bradley Cooper is Eddie Morra, a writer who has just worked out a deal with a publisher but can`t come out with the inspiration to write his novel. He has long hair, a hippy style, his apartment is a mess, and his life seems to be going nowhere. Eddie Morra is the sort of person no one expects anything from. Even his girlfriend, Lindy (Abbie Cornish), gives him the keys to his apartment back and decides to end their relationship. Eddie is a mess, but his life is about to change when he accidently runs into his ex brother in law, Vernon (Johnny Whitworth), who happens to have a pill that will change his life. Eddie is reluctant at first, but he doesn’t have anything to lose so he decides to try it. The effects of the NZT pill are almost immediate; Eddie begins to remember things that have been locked up in his unconsciousness. He can remember anything he`s ever read, heard about, or seen. Suddenly he gets inspired to write, fix his room, and tighten up, his whole life changes in one day thanks to the pill. The next morning he is back to his old self but he decides to contact Vernon in order to buy more NZT`s. Once he gets to his apartment he finds Vernon dead and the entire room is a mess. He discovers where the pills are and takes them. Now with the pills, Eddie`s life takes a drastic change. He becomes successful and begins making a lot of money in the financial industry. An important businessman, Carl Van Loon (Robert de Niro), takes an interest in him and wants his services. However, Eddie discovers there are some side effects to NZT, and some very dangerous people are also after the pill.

Limitless has plenty of action and thrills to keep you hooked. Bradley Cooper is also great as the lead role. Andrew Howard and Tomas Arana play the villains who are mysteriously after the NZT pills. The movie has a sort of strange feel to it at times; for moments it seems as if we the viewer have taken the pills as we experience everything in shaky bright and fuzzy colors. There is plenty of suspense and at times it`s hard to know where the movie is going, but it really works well and ties nicely at the end. Limitless does present a moral dilemma as we see how the pill enhances Eddie`s life, but at the same time it barely kills him due to the strong side effects. As a society we have grown to rely on different kinds of pills that enhance our mind and bodies without even considering the side effects and dependence these pharmaceutical drugs are having on us. I think that Neil Burger presents these issues very well in this story that serves as a parable for what our society is turning into in its strive for perfection. I really enjoyed this thriller although it has a couple of flaws here and there, but it still is worth watching thanks to Bradley Cooper`s leading performance.

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