'Your only limitations are those you set upon yourself. Believe in your abilities and
your infinite potential. Never let self-doubt hold you captive. You are worthy of all
that you dream of and hope for.' ~ Roy T. Bennett
'Limitless' is a clever, stylish little exercise in drug-fueled paranoia. This film
raises the question, 'If the apple from the tree of knowledge fell right into your lap,
would you take a bite? And then what would you do?' The apple in this case is an illicit
designer drug 'NZT'. Now, it isn't just another quick high, but instead, it makes a lie
of the old saying that we only use 20 percent of our brains and cranks that percentage
up to 100. Can you fathom that! The possibilities are endless in theory and also for
the purpose of this story.
A thirty-something writer Eddie Mora (Bradley Cooper 'Burnt' (2015), is divorced with
a terminal case of writer's block. Here is a guy who was just dumped by his most recent
girlfriend Lindy (Abbie Cornish 'Perfect' (2018), because he's going nowhere at the speed
of light. By circumstance, our slacker finds himself in possession of a stash of the
wonder pill. Suddenly, Eddie -- seducing the worlds of writing, women and Wall Street --
has got massive amounts of game and brains, attracting the attention of both barons of
the boardroom like Carl Van Loon (Robert De Niro 'The Wizard of Lies' (2017), bullies on
the street like Russian mobster Gennady (Andrew Howard 'The Brave' (2017), and some
mysterious third guy who keeps giving him the side-eye and chasing him around Manhattan.
And did someone mention side effects? Baby, this apple bites back. This is where Eddie
might be starting to realize that getting really smart really quickly may have been
a dumb thing after all?
Bradley Cooper is great and really plays up both sides of that coin, the intellect and
when the drug wears out, the pauper. I have been a big fan of his since the series 'Alias'
(2001-2006). I always enjoyed him because he stretches and doesn't just skate on his looks.
He tries to be diverse in his choice of roles such as 'Joy' and 'Burnt' (2015), 'American
Sniper' and 'Serena' (2014). In raunchy fare like 'The Hangover' (2009) and plodding rom-coms
('Wedding Crashers' (2005) – didn't you hate him? 'He's Just Not That Into You' (2009) –
again the cad and everyone loved him in 'Valentine's Day' (2010).
'Limitless' is based on the novel 'The Dark Fields' by Alan Glynn and is directed with
a nimble efficiency and sense of visual humor by Neil Burger ('Divergent' (2014). It is
at times reminiscent of the work of Danny Boyle ('T2 Trainspotting' (2017), it never takes
itself too seriously but still manages to be suspenseful and clever. Burger, Cooper and De
Niro opened up what was a much cluttered book and injected it with a jolt of cinematic
electricity. Smart move - smart movie.
© Frank Borsellino™
© From Where I Sit™
March 27, 2018