What would you do with unlimited brain power? That’s the question that director Neil Burger poses in 2011’s Limitless. The answer? Go completely mental…. or at least that’s the future Bradley Cooper’s Eddie must face. After an initial burst of success he soon discovers his dependency on the little known clear tablets and the risky life he now leads.
After an initial starting-near-the-end intro a lá Fight Club we’re introduced to a down-and-out Eddie. Finding it nigh-impossible to finish the book he’s writing we’re presented with a pitiful character who, once his girlfriend (Abbie Cornish) leaves him, has very little going for him. Enter a long-lost acquaintance with a handy drug and suddenly Eddie’s book is finished, he’s making serious amounts of money and he lands an impressive financial job (all at the slight cost of the death of said acquaintance). Although his morals seemingly disappear out of the window he manages to win his girlfriend back too – could anything go wrong?
Well yes, of course, and soon Eddie finds himself suffering from memory loss and headaches as well as nasty rumours that fellow users have a tendency to drop dead soon after they stop taking the miracle drug. Throw a Russian thug, a strange stalker and a lucrative financial deal into the mix and Eddie’s soon facing a cocktail of chaos.
Limitless employs an enjoyable mix of effects (we zoom through the city streets at dizzying speeds) and performances but you get the distinct feeling that Robert De Niro, playing Eddie’s prospective boss, is under-utilised here. There’s an interesting mix of foreshadowing and red herrings but the film fails to answer a lot of the questions it poses (little is made of the murder charges filed against Eddie) and the film sometimes feels like it is trying to cover too much ground in too little time because of this.
A film as much about addiction as anything else, Limitless ends on an odd note, posing more unanswered questions in an under-played twist. Nevertheless Limitless is an engaging watch that explores some new ground in an entertaining way.
Best line: ‘How much worse could it get’.
Best Eddie moment: Making thousands of dollars in a day.
Worst Eddie moment: The lengths he has to go to towards the end of the film.
Shia LaBeouf almost played Eddie.