Thursday, 17 March 2011

Limitless: Movie Review

Limitless: Movie Review

Rating: 6/10
Cast: Bradley Cooper, Robert De Niro, Abbie Cornish, Anna Friel
Director: Neil Burger
What if you could find a drug which stimulated all of your brain?
What if you were that dude from the Hangover aka Bradley Cooper and someone presented this premise to you?
Cooper stars as out of work, down on his luck writer Eddie Morra, who's dumped by his girlfriend Lindy (Cornish) because he's going nowhere.
On the very same day, he bumps into his former brother in law whom he's not seen for nine years - and on his advice, Morra takes a techno wonder drug NZT48.
Soon, Morra's finished that book he's been working on for years, made a killing on the stock market and generally stimulated his life more than he could ever have expected to.
With heightened intellect, learning ability and creative powers, he comes to the attention of De Niro's Carl von Loon, a stockbroker who tries to use him to sort a merger.
But Morra's facing all manner of problems; he's being chased by creditors who'll do unmentionable things to him and to make matters worse, he is running out of wonder drug NZT 48.
Coupled with the fact he learns the drug could kill him, Morra's in dire straits...
Limitless has some impressive moments; Cooper does well as Morra, the man who becomes addicted to the drug and improving his life. He brings the behaviour mannerisms of any addict to life and yet manages to keep this druggie affable and watchable.
Director Burger also starts off well - using some clever lighting techniques and camera ideas to reflect the highs of taking the drug (everything becomes crystal clear and bathed in a yellow light).
But then he blows it - as Burger soon himself becomes addicted to the thrill of using the same psychedelic tricks over and over and over again; any subtlety and appreciation for the novelty is pounded out of you with their repetition. It's akin to your senses being visually pummelled repeatedly with a very blunt object.
Throw into the mix some frankly ludicrous plot developments (Morra encourages his girlfriend to use the drug to think her way out of a tight spot - even after he's learnt how dangerous the drug is) and you begin to realise Limitless has found its own boundaries.
It's based on a novel and while it has a couple of reasonable twists, most can be seen coming.

It's a shame because the trippy start and the solid performances of the main cast make Limitless a little different, engaging from the get go and likely to confound some of your expectations; but unfortunately an over-use of some stylish shots detract from the end result and you get some of the highs of a trip - but also some of the lows.

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