Released on March 18th, 2011, ‘Limitless’ is Neil Burger’s directorial venture that deals ironically deals with the lighter side of using performance enhancing drugs (not intentionally though). Considering the fact that drugs are considered a strict no-no in today’s world, Neil Burger’s film leaves much space for speculation!
Eddie Morra (Bradley Cooper) is a struggling writer who lives in New York City. Barely able to make a living out of his profession, Eddie finds himself reaching a dead end as the money he got as advance for a novel he is yet to start writing, fades away quickly.
Exasperated by his aimless life, his long time girlfriend Lindy (Abbie Cornish) dumps him. Clueless and completely dejected, Eddie contemplates ending his life when he bumps into Vernon (Johnny Whitworth), a drug dealer who also happens to be his ex- brother-in –law.
Vernon gives Eddie a so called secret pill which he promises would make the latter feel like a whole new man. And although apprehensive at first, Eddie decides to give NZT (that’s what the pill is called) a try.
To his surprise, Eddie wakes up the next day as a whole new man, as promised by Vernon. He realises that he has become smarter, sharper and more active than he has ever felt in his entire life. Added to this is his new found ability to memorise anything and everything instantly, and recollect it perfectly at a later stage.
His new found powers enable Eddie to finish his novel in a single day. And when he finds the effect of the drug wearing off, Eddie realises that he cannot live without it. He goes in search of Vernon to get some more pills only to find out that the latter had died in an accident. However, he does manage to get his hands on a stash of NZT pills which he uses to turn his life upside down.
At first, everything seems wonderful. Eddie’s publisher loves his novel which he promises would become a best seller. Eddie also masters new skills quickly and enters the stock market with a bang. And thanks to NZT and its powers, Eddie finds himself on the road to becoming a millionaire soon as he makes it big in the stock market.
And then, the problems start seeping in one by one. Apparently, the so called super drug NZT has some not so favorable side effects which Eddie learns only later on in the movie. In addition to this, he is constantly followed by a Russian gangster who wants the same drug Eddie’s been using to become the man he is now!
‘Limitless’ aims to be a thriller that would be fun and intriguing to watch. And it does just that in an entertaining way. Filled with loads of energy and nail biting tension, the movie makes you sit up and take note of the narrative as it speeds to an explosive finale.
Bradley Cooper is just perfect as the inept Eddie who becomes the apple of everyone’s eyes as soon as he starts taking the drug. The actor is both charming and intelligent; and extremely lethal as he approaches his role with conviction and determination.
On his part, Robert De Niro who essays the role of a billionaire businessman out to hire Eddie after the latter’s successful stint in the world of finance comes out every bit as polished and commanding as the role requires him to be!
That said and done, something with ‘Limitless’ just doesn’t feel right. While the director was so busy highlighting the achievements Eddie managed to accomplish after consuming the wonder drug, he seems to have lost focus of the dreadful after effects the protagonist experiences afterwards.
Despite issuing us warnings about how NZT can seduce you to do the most unethical things, by the end of the movie, you are left wondering as to whether Eddie should be treated as a cautionary tale or a role model, with most people opting for the latter.
And even though the director tries his best to keep the seriousness of the script intact, he loses his hold over the subject matter near the middle. The end result is a movie that looks promising and truly thrilling, but somewhat doesn’t connect with you in the way the director wanted it to!
Our Verdict: ‘Limitless’ is a good value for your money and could have been much better with a few tweaks in the script. Watchable once!
Director: Neil Burger
Cast: Bradley Cooper, Robert De Niro, Abbie Cornish and Johnny Whitworth