Limitless tells the story of a man who receives the power to unlock 100% of his brain potential through the use of a simple miracle pill called NZT. He then encounters trouble as others with knowledge of the pill want to take away his supply. The man is named Eddie Morra and his story is relatively predictable and a little gimmicky, but it is entertaining nonetheless.
Bradley Cooper, one of the men who soared to fame in The Hangover, gives us the character of Eddie. He’s believable as the struggling writer-nobody at the beginning, but Cooper is far better as the sharp talking brainiac he becomes after taking NZT. He is sharply dressed and he talks in a quicker more direct fashion that really shows he knows what’s going on.
After Eddie’s brother-in-law gives him NZT, he wants more. He finishes his book in four days after not being able to start writing it for weeks, he hooks up with his landlord’s pushy wife and his memory seems to be able to access everything he has ever seen or heard. Eddie than finds his supplier dead and after taking a huge package of NZT pills, he begins to be followed by unknown men. To make matters worse, Eddie is beginning to skip segments of his memory. After rising quickly in the world of Wall Street financiers and getting his fiancé back, Eddie rapidly begins to lose everything. He finds out that he is not the only one abusing NZT to achieve success in New York, as well as being warned of the serious side effects of addiction.
Limitless has an interesting concept, and the plot is much smarter than most movies around, but its not any stroke of genius. Characters are introduced, they serve their purpose, and than they leave the movie. Director Neil Burger uses interesting techniques to show the time lapses in Eddie’s memory, but that’s about it in terms of original ideas or even expressive camera techniques. Limitless is definitely a fun movie the first time around, but it will show its limit in value over time.
The main problem with this thriller is that the protagonist’s journey seems to disregard the real consequences of his addiction to NZT. Yes, he loses his girlfriend twice and he begins to skip moments, even hours, of his memory in time lapse. But what the movie never really illustrates is his emotional response to the events around him, or the side characters responses for that matter. This is a movie more about what happens rather than why it happens or how it affects the characters in it. The movie is a little lacking in visual style, using primarily overused techniques, and the ending is incomplete and to some aggravating. Good as Limitless is, it seems to leave you feeling as if the movie was incomplete in some way. Perhaps it’s the shallow development of character and story, or the circular ending, but Limitless is a movie with little re-watch value.