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Reviewed by: Mitch Hansch

Released: 18th March 2011

Directed by: Neil Burger

Starring: Bradley Cooper, Abbie Cornish, Robert De Niro

Certificate: 15

What if I gave you a pill that would take you from only accessing the 20% of your brain that most of us schmucks operate from to accessing a full 100% of your brain making you the best you? Tell me, is that something you might be interested in? If you were at your highest level of your potential and at genius status then you might be moved to solve world problems like poverty or cancer; however, curing cancer isn’t sexy. Do you know what is sexy? If you used those new found powers to make you rich and powerful, and what is also sexy is to have Bradley Cooper (The Hangover) play it all out onscreen for you in director Neil Burger’s pharmaceutical sleek looking and entertaining thriller, “Limitless”.

Bradley Cooper doesn’t start out all that sexy, playing Eddie Morra, a underachieving writer who just got dumped from the overachieving Lindy, played by the underused Abbie Cornish. In a chance run in with his ex-brother-in-law Vernon (Johnny Whitworth), Eddie is supplied with the non-FDA approved super smart pill called NZT that goes for $800 a pop. When Eddie comes jonzeing back for more, he finds Vernon with a bullet in his head and also finds his NZT stash. “Enhanced Eddie” finishes his novel within a week, learns to play piano in three days, and is able to turn $12,000 into $2.3 Million in 12 days.

In order to get that bank roll going, he takes $100,000 from a heavy accented Russian mobster (Andrew Howard) who by the end of the film wants more than just his money. Among the films other subplots is the subplot Eddie trying to reach the top of the Wall Street game with billionaire mogul Carl Van Loon (now that’s a movie name if I’ve ever seen one). Carl Van Loon, played by Robert DeNiro, is a man who’s earned his slimy place in the world and didn’t just take a pill to get there. On top of the plethora of subplots, some mysteriously nefarious guy is stalking Eddie, and Eddie is simultaneously under investigation for a murder that occured when time-skip side effects started to kick in from the wonder pill.

Leslie Dixon’s screenplay, based off of Alan Glynn’s novel “Dark Fields”, is the weakest part of “Limitless”. The many plot directions make for a story that is all over the place and that lazily uses Bradley Cooper’s narration throughout causing many of the films twists and turns to be seen a mile away. I wish the screenplay would have taken a NZT pill to focus and tighten it’s story up. With that said, “Limitless” is not boring. That is partly due to Neil Burger’s (The Illusionist) direction which is alive with great use of flashy cinematography of N.Y.C., and partly due to a focused and charming lead performance from

Bradley Cooper, proving “The Hangover” was no fluke. So much is said in Coopers eyes as he transforms back and forth from slob to savant.

Cooper’s protagonist is nothing more than a junkie on the score up on the screen for two hours. But “Limitless” asks what choice would you make if a drug you were addicted to made you a genius instead of just making you high. Harmful side effects still apply but would the it be worth the risk? One thing I do know, going to see “Limitless” is worth the risk.

25 year old film fanatic who loves rock music, Xbox and cat videos on Youtube. I also tweet @lewisvstheworld

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