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In all honesty, I’ve been avoiding Limitless. It’s been on my “To Watch” list for the past year, and I tried to watch it at least three times since. But for some reason I could not get through the opening voice-over done by Bradley Cooper. Immediately we’re introduced to an “Eddie” Morra (Cooper) standing on the rooftop of his penthouse fortress, and he’s already asking the audience to hear his story before he plummets to his death. If only I had let the movie go on to its opening credits I would have been compelled to stay. The one-and-a-half minutes of trip-tastic opening credits is visually hypnotizing, and this is the film’s forte. The story of the failed writer turned instant success via a new drug, NZT-48, is quick and neat enough to keep you entertained, but it has many flaws you can try to overlook.
1. What is NZT-48? This part is pretty unclear, and somewhat frustratingly so. It’s only by chance that Eddie happens upon the drug, when he bumps into his ex-brother-in-law, Vernon Gant (Johnny Whitworth), on the street. He doesn’t get much opportunity to ask about the drug either, as the smarmy Vernon is disposed of pretty early on, leaving Eddie to his own devices. There’s little hesitation for Eddie when given a clear-like button of a drug that gives you full access to your brain-power - instead of using 20% of your brain you use 100%. I don’t know what this means, and it’s unclear if writer, Leslie Dixon knows either. There are plenty of films that leave technicalities in the ambiguous void, but here the drug is responsible for every plot point that occurs so that would’ve been nice.
2. Is Bradley Cooper supposed to be likable? When first introduced to Eddie Mora as a pitiable schlub with extreme writer’s block it’s easy to feel bad for him. Of course when he’s popping NZT he’s completely transformed into a knowledgeable, do-it-all machine. He finishes his novel in four days, and next decides to play a little in the stock-market, supposedly tripling his investments daily. It’s unclear how much foresight Eddie’s really thinking with, considering he’s relying on a drug he knows little about to grant him his key to success, so lets just accept his character is pretty short-sighted and makes mistakes because of it. So when the s**t hits the fan, it’s pretty much a result of his own actions, even leading up to Eddie’s unfortunate predicament on the rooftop. Why would I feel sorry for a guy who’s getting exactly what he asked for?
3. Overall, it’s really cool and snappy. Limitless is fun, quick and really awesome to look upon. The dialogue is smart and quick on the comebacks, keeping you continually entertained. Whenever Eddie pops one of those wonder-pills, Neil Burger does well to submerge the viewer into its sensory effects, and getting trapped into a bad blackout phase has never been so thrilling. Even though you can’t help but wonder, “Why is he still taking this?”, as awesome as some of these scenes are, I can sort of understand. At times the film gets preposterous and somewhat unbelievable, but it’s definitely not boring.
The movie keeps you thinking, mostly because of how many questions they leave unanswered. Although you’ll be left contemplating the morality and even plausibility of the entire story, you should still feel satisfied by it. NO, I did not care for the main character, and I don’t know if I necessarily agree with the film’s ending. But what an absurd fictional adventure, and it even offered me something visually engaging. If I rated on a scale from 1 to 10, I’d feel compelled to give it a 6.5. But working within 3-lettered expletives, I’d have to go for “YAY”, because it was simply fun and entertaining during its 105-minute run. Although once those 105 minutes are up, try not to spend much time thinking on it or you’ll have to question how satisfied you actually were.