Movie Review: LIMITLESS (2011)
A year before the critical acclaim and hoopla of Bradley Cooper and Robert De Niro’s shared performances in SILVER LININGS PLAYBOOK came this small and interesting movie that over all didn’t really impress as much. Here’s my movie review of LIMITLESS…
Blank Page Rating: 2.5 out of 5 Stars
Bradley Cooper is a decent actor, but one who picks horrible movies, with some exceptions. LIMITLESS is not one of those exceptions. Granted it’s a very cool concept, there are still things about the movie that leave one jarring for more, and wish that what was done, was done better.
LIMITLESS is about a hapless no good writer, who is failing in his most current project, while the rest of his life and relationships crumble around him. Bradley Cooper’s Eddie Morra is a lazy man who lives off of his girlfriend, until she breaks up with him, leaving him with even less prospects in life. Through a chance encounter, he happens upon this magic pill that removes all limitations (get it?) of his brain, increasing its capacity exponentially. Allowing him to basically think, really really good. This of course opens many doors, such as enhanced memory, soaking up information like a sponge, and basically being super super smart and a slew of other cool abilities.
Of course Eddie uses his powers for his own selfish gains, and, as anyone that’s ever read a comic book knows, that doing so never ends well for our ‘heroes’. He uses his brains for the pursuit of money, and becomes, well rich; like Trump rich. He does this by entering the very cinematically cool and lucrative field of financial something or other. Unfortunately I don’t have access to magic drugs to explain the hows… but he hits it big. However, as follows illegitimate rise to fame, through another series of complications and string of mishaps, Eddie finds himself in the cross hairs of loan sharks, others trying to get their hands on this pill, all the while he’s trying to capitalize on an opportunity that will make or break his entire future. It’s fast paced, engaging, definitely fun to watch, but look any deeper and it all falls apart.
LIMITLESS is interesting. It’s a cool premise that plays out nicely, however, with some jarring convolutions. Unfortunately, director Neil Burger decided to tell the story in a very visual way, through the use of snappy techniques which aren’t nowhere near being as innovative as he might’ve thought. The multiple Coopers cleaning up his room really fast, has been done as long ago as MULTIPLICITY with Michael Keaton. The slow down, speed up shots with multiple trails of Cooper, indicating black outs he’s been having is also not as fresh of a technique as they make it seem in the movie. While at times they enhance what’s going on, added with Cooper’s voice over narration, it feels… inorganic to the story.
Even the story itself falls upon the same pitfalls of clichéd films similar to this. Obviously drugging yourself for financial gain is going to have its side affects, it’s almost insulting for the Director to realize that we, the audience wouldn’t be expecting this. Unlike Superman, who doesn’t use his X-Ray vision during Victoria’s Secret fashion shows, Eddie doesn’t realize that there may be dramatic consequences to him using his brain like this. And this is kind of a plot hole slash inconsistency in the story; if he’s so super ass smart, why doesn’t he foresee or anticipate things that could go wrong, and create back up plans for those instances? For a man dealing in drugs, money and other criminals elements, you would think Eddie would have made some contingency plans when things started going South. Yet despite his super smart-ness, the bad things that befall Eddie, seem to be completely out of the blue for him, despite being predictable to the audience. This is where the premise falls apart.
Robert De Niro has a brief role in this as Eddie’s would-be mentor, and he’s pretty decent at it. The romance sub plot seemed forced and tacked on, despite having its significance in the story.
LIMITLESS again, is interesting. Cooper does a decent job of mostly, being himself. But even that characterization is a cliché. Nervous, jittery, good for nothing guy transforms into charming, witty and intellectual badass who wears leather jackets to formal dinner parties. It’s really nothing that Cooper hasn’t done before, most recently in THE HANGOVER III. All in all, LIMITLESS was a very good effort by all involved, but there weren’t enough consistencies to tie the film into being an enjoyable experience.