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Limitless Review

Simon’s Rating: 6.5/10
Player Affinity Composite Rating: 5.7/10
(4 reviews total)

For a film with a drug that unleashes the full potential of the human mind at the center, you’d
think that Limitless could have tried
a little harder to maximize its smarts and not opt to simply dissolve into a
by-the-numbers, action thriller. Interesting ideas are abound here about the
nature of sanity, memory, human intelligence, morality, etc. are
rampant and the film squeezes those themes in an enigmatic and stylishly
ethereal package. Even with solid performances throughout, Limitless never reaches its full
potential and is just another reminder of the ho-hum start we have had to this
year at the movies.

This really is the Bradley
Cooper show. Despite what the ads seem to promise, Robert De Niro has but 25
minutes (max) of screen time and the delightful Abbie Cornish is underutilized
to the extreme. Thankfully for all those involved, Cooper is one charming lead;
confident and likeable while also making his character of Eddie Morra into a
slightly more realistic character than is usually constructed in fare such as
this. He makes us believe in the character of Eddie as a slovenly, failed
writer and after his transcendence (following him crossing paths with the
experimental drug NZT) into a full-fledged playboy, we root for this guy


Although seemingly a godsend
at first, Eddie’s addiction creates all sorts of trouble (real-world and
cognitive). Is he going insane? Did he commit a murder? Is this a dream and who
is after him? I will not expose which way
ultimately chooses, but let’s say the twist(s) at least partially make up
for the dopey chase sequences and its eventual dissolution from cerebral
thriller to action flick. Director Neil Burger (that would be as in rhymes with
merger, not a McDonald’s specialty) has ample flair behind the camera and masks
Limitless with a legitimately unique
style that is kinetic and constant but never in the distracting way sometimes utilized
by auteurs Danny Boyle and Tony Scott, to name a few.

Adapted from the novel The Dark Fields, many of the central themes are
carried over (though I have not personally read it), and I expect this is what gives Limitless its sporadic edge. To address and important side note, unlike
most, I do not join the growing gang that hates on actor Shia LaBeouf. I bring this up as he was the original lead before Cooper stepped in. If you recall, he suffered an injury during the filming of the “Transformers” sequel and
though I think Cooper is an infinitely better choice for the lead, a comparison
between both films should boldly tell LaBeouf to go back to more grounded
productions. I apologize if you find me slight in revealing some of the more
major plot elements, though for a movie such as this, one accidental hit of the
“enter” key can ruin a movie (that while for me was ultimately lacking) another
could love. I hate being that person.


Sadly, Limitless still represents one of the
better films to reach theatres this year, and its production values, stakes in
an as of yet unproven lead and underlying smarts, at least point to good
intentions and a healthy dose of passion on account of the filmmakers involved.
Though I praise the core of limitless, and not to go for the soundbite, nor
resort to clichéd one-liners, but for all the plot elements screaming for
potential and something more than a run-of-the-mills offering, this stylish
thriller is all but limited.

Rating: 6.5/10 

Directed by Neil Burger
Written by Leslie Dixon
Starring Bradley Cooper, Robert Di Niro, Abbie
Cornish, Andrew Howard

Other Player Affinity Reviews

Julian thought: “Like The Adjustment Bureau, this film isn’t quite as smart as it thinks it is. Unfortunately, it’s not quite as entertaining either, and the blame for that goes to leading man Bradley Cooper. He’s never capably carried a film on his shoulders, and this one isn’t any different. Sure, he’s got the looks of a leading man, but he doesn’t quite have the charisma, actability, or – perhaps most importantly – that intangible “it” factor. Not helping matters is the fact that the story, although intriguing and potentially thought-provoking, often takes predictable and consequently boring turns. The film prefers to take the route of mildly satisfying thriller over insightful commentary on the world of drug use. The moments of action are staged decently enough to be slightly interesting, but some peculiar choices with cinematography and editing leave them to be as lifeless as the film’s leading performance. Abbie Cornish does her best to keep this film afloat, but we don’t get to see enough of her work to be truly redeemed. Robert De Niro unfortunately doesn’t seem to be trying anymore, even though his role is a glorified cameo.” Rating: 5.5/10

Kieran thought: Limitless is a victory of style over substance. Neil Burger should be praised for turning a very internal story into visually engaging experience, he over loads Limitless with a number of stylish tricks, including a scene showing the passage of time looking like The White Stripes music video for “Seven Nation Army.” But whilst it has the visuals, there is a lack in the story and focus of what type of film it wanted to be. Limitless focuses a character who is hard to like, selfish and possibly committed a violence crime. And there is a basic logical issue, wouldn’t other people using the drug do similar things to Eddie with what they could do to improve the drug. It should easily a contender for most overrated film of 2011.” Rating: 5/10

Steven thought: “If humans can only access 20 percent of their brains normally and 100 percent while on NZT, then I would say screenwriter Leslie Dixon and director Neil Burger probably access somewhere around 70 percent of their creative power with regards to bringing Alan Glynn’s novel to the big screen. All far-fetched concept stories have their side effects, but the true winners avoid the crash. Limitless takes its audience on a thrill ride through the realm of possibility and gleefully entertains, but some sobering second-act elements kill off a bit of the joy. Although far from cathartic, the film poses science-fiction-y questions that anyone can understand about the potential of the mind. Cooper truly emerges as a leading talent and Burger shows promise employing a myriad of techniques to create that drug-induced feeling not seen since Requiem for a Dream, which all offer more memorable distractions from a multi-thread plot that ends up going absolutely nowhere.” Rating: 6/10

Player Affinity Composite Rating: 5.7/10 



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