Limitless

Ah, Limitless, as in enough ‘brain power’ so that no problem will remain unsolved, or with the sky being the limit ergo limitless, you can acquire any skillset you need to enable you to have everything you ever wanted … Wealth beyond imaginable limits, the ability to capture any woman you want, and to be able to do whatever you want, whenever you want to do it.

That kind of power or ability is the glittering bauble dangling from the end of the stick that is always just beyond our reach;  just like winning a lottery so that you are set up for life . For most of us, that is the everyman dream  that we all visit from time to time – ultimate and unattainable.

Writer Eddie Morra, is suffering from a severe downward spiral of his life, as well as writer’s block which has bedeviled him, especially after getting an advance to do a book. Word one has yet to appear on either a paper page or an electronic page.

But after popping just one pill, Morra was able to knock out the first fifty pages of the book in a few hours. After he got some more of these NZT pills, he was able to finish his book in a matter of days, and he also suddenly has the limitless abilities described above.  In fact, Eddie turns $12,000 into $2.3 million in just 10 days.

When asked how he has been able to accomplish so much, and so quickly – he answers truthfully yet enigmatically – medication.

We are talking about Limitless by Director Neil Burger (The Illusionist). This is only Burger’s 4th feature film in the last decade, but this one has the hook to pull a lot of people into the theaters. I mean, haven’t we all had our own dreams to have a life like Eddie’s?

When you factor in the cast which is led by Bradley Cooper as Morra, and supported by Robert DeNiro, Abbie Cornish, Anna Friel, and Johnny Whitworth – there’s a good likelihood of a major box-office hit.

But like everything else in real life, or even in the semi-real world as imagined by screenwriters, there’s always a cost or a downside buried in the small print. Oh yes, you do become aware of it, but usually, once you’ve started down this amped up garden path, you’re past caring, or unable to get off this merry-go-round, or step away from what DeNiro’s Carl Van Loon called some toys that you’ll be needing. You know these toys – fast cars, fast women, beautiful homes, your own jet, etc, etc.

The film gets us hooked and we’re on a thrill ride where the accelaration is well, limitless. The fast moving story mirrors the camera and cgi gimmicks that are astounding. As an example, we will travel through the city at what seems like nearly light speed, and if not light speed, certainly far faster than any of us have ever traveled.

It very well might remind you of the famous star gate sequence (above) in Stanley Kubrik’s 2001 – only instead of rapidly moving through the abstract colored light streaks representing the cosmos, or time travel,  in Limitless, it is rapid movement through the city on its streets.

But unlike 2001, the bad guy is not a HAL 9000 computer. Instead there’s a Eastern European loan shark, and his henchman, and other villains, which in some cases are surprising. Of course, all of that involves a lot of sleight of hand in the screenplay. Things are introduced, then never heard from again. Other characters, including some of the major support roles, appear, then we don’t see  them again for long stretches.

But, this only means that the screenplay is less than perfect. Yeah, you will have to scratch your head at times, or you might find yourself thinking – wasn’t that ‘convenient’?

One of Eddie's new toys ...

Overall I think the film is quite good. It has that great hook, plenty of action as well as menace, and the visuals are often spectacular. Plus there’s the fact that virtually the entire film is told from Eddie’s perspective, including plenty of voice overs.

The lightbulb has turned on - Eddie realizes he can have it all

Bradley Cooper  as Eddie Morra does an excellent job. Robert DeNiro portraying super financier and energy tycoon Carl Van Loon, has fewer scenes than you might have expected, but there is one signature scene for him that is truly memorable. Abbie Cornish who plays Lindy, the off and on love interest for Morra, however is under utilized. In fact, instead of we viewers getting some sort of emotional connection with Cornish’s Lindy, Burger chooses to give her an action sequence which was well done, but seemed a departure for this woman.

Kudos to Burger for directing a thrilling and exciting film. I must also commend Cooper who basically carries the film from beginning to end. And speaking of the end, the film does not end either the way you might have expected, or even when you expected.

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