Director: Neil Burger
Cast: Bradley Cooper, Robert De Niro, Abbie Cornish & Anna Friel
With the libraries crammed full of harried looking students intently devouring books with bloodshot eyes and grinding teeth its clear exam season is beginning. And as we all head once more into the breach of red bull fueled panic attacks, there will always be those who decide to leave studying till things turn desperate. Who tell themselves that you only really need two solid weeks of work and that the exams are ages away – we haven’t even gotten to the Trinity Ball yet. So if you’re type of person that’s reading this and feeling reassured, Limitless might just be the slice of heartening escapism you might enjoy.
The film tells the story of schlubly writer Eddie Morra (Bradley Cooper). Eddie cannot hold down a job or girlfriend and is unable to bring himself to write so much as the first word of his long gestating novel. Stumbling from cigarette to whiskey to sitting alone in his hole of an apartment clipping his toenails, it’s not surprising he begins to accept he has no future. But then his estranged brother-in-law shows up and offers him a pill. A pill he claims that can solve all of Eddie’s problems by allowing him to access the whole of his brain (as apparently humans normally only use 20%). After some understandable speculation Eddie, deciding his life cannot possibly get much worse, downs the little clear tablet. Instantly he begins to perceive his world differently, he is able to remember finite information with startling accuracy, he notices miniscule details that others do not and is suddenly more handsome and charming. His bleary eyes become bluer and the chubby layabout begins to look more like Bradley Cooper. After securing more of the magical little pills, he finishes his novel in a week then sets his sights on Wall Street and political office.
However the filmmakers really shouldn’t have decided on the title ‘Limitless’. After a fairly interesting first section, the plot’s confines mean the rest of film feels like it never really knows quite where it’s going. When Eddie runs out of the drug and a scabby ex-user shows up to offer croaky warnings of the withdrawal symptoms, it appears to be turning into a an addiction drama. Then, realizing that this doesn’t really sit with the ‘action thriller’ genre that was being strived for earlier, they decide to gloss over the addiction storyline and move onto a shadowy conspiracy with a knife-wielding assassin. Also thrown into the mix is a Serbian loan-shark with a taste for Eddie’s magic pill, Eddie’s shallow and thoroughly pointless girlfriend (Abbie Cornish) and a shady Wall Street CEO (Robert DeNiro- once again phoning it in for the paycheck). With all the unsettled plot strands you begin to realise that Limitless is in fact thoroughly limited. It cannot escape its limitations. It sets itself up, but then does not know how to end.
Not a great film then. But with exams approaching the thought of a solve-all pill existing isn’t entirely unappealing.
The Trailer to Limitless.