Director: Neil Burger
Writers: Leslie Dixon (screenplay), Alan Glynn (novel)
Stars: Bradley Cooper, Anna Friel and Abbie Cornish
Review: I’m the sort of film watcher who thinks merit can be measured by explosion frequency. I’m not the discerning viewer after high brow story lines, superb acting and thought provoking direction. I like fast, I like stylish, I like genre.
So to all appearances Limitless should satisfy my tastes as a film watcher fairly easily.
I wouldn’t say it didn’t, but I wouldn’t say it did either.
Limitless starts well, with a slightly dishevelled guy (Bradley Cooper) precariously balanced on a balcony ledge of a penthouse suit, while someone tries to break the door down. Before we find out if he steps off and plummets to his death we wind back some months before to where this all started – when a hopeless writer, significantly more dishevelled than he is in the future, bumps into an old school friend who offers him a drug that allows him access to 100% of his brain. Feeling he couldn’t be in a worse situation than he is right now – girlfriend left him, deadline for pages looming and nothing written, house a mess – our protagonist Eddie takes the drug and with his heightened intelligence starts to see things going his way for a change. He gets his pages written, tidies his house, bangs his landlord’s irritating wife after sweet talking her with advice about college papers.
But of course, drugs wear off, and most of the rest of the film is Eddie trying to stay ahead of those who would take his stash from him, while trying to advance himself as quickly as possible and make a quick fortune.
While the film is great to look at – the trippy sections of drug fuelled indulgence are stylishly done, there is some brilliant make up (Anna Friel’s brief appearance being a particularly good show) and the acting is reasonable – and in all fairness, I was really enjoying it until the final section, the finale that occurred once we were back with Eddie on the edge of his penthouse balcony left a lot to be desired.
It’s not that there wasn’t a resolution, or even that the resolution was particularly unbelievable. It was just… wrong. Morally wrong. (Warning: Slight spoilers ahead.)
The overall message of Limitless seemed to be: take loads of drugs, get everything you ever wanted. It was edgy, and saw Eddie doing terrible things – taking him as far down as to shoot a criminal and drink his blood for the drug in it. But at the end everything was fine – better, in fact, than it had ever been – and rock bottom, drinking human blood Eddie was on his way to being senator.
I guess I wanted a little more consequence. If the final exchange between Robert DeNiro’s character and Eddie had gone a little more DeNiro’s way, then I think it would have been better. But as it stands, Limitless just seems to suggest that you can do whatever the hell you want, and still be en route to presidency, just as long as you’re smart and pretty enough.
A flick that does its best to be fast, fun and footloose, and succeeds, but with a questionable morality that left me feeling a little jarred by the ending.