What if you could take a pill and then be able to access 100 percent of your brain power? This is the engrossing premise behind Limitless, a thriller that attempts to rise above the standard tropes of the genre. This is old-school science fiction that experiments with a fantastical premise and then executes it to its logical conclusion. Does it execute perfectly? We’ll see.
We follow Eddie Morra, a failed writer who lives in a two-room apartment in New York. He is financially dependent on his girlfriend, who breaks up with him for this reason. So basically he’s the “Hollywood Loser”. This sounds very similar to any character who starts from rock bottom. But it’s easily forgivable due to Bradley Cooper’s inherent likability. The guy is charismatic no matter what role he’s in. Later on, Eddie meets up with his brother. His brother somehow has gotten his hands on a drug called NZT, which allows the user to access 100% of their brain power. After taking only one pill, Eddie writes 90 pages of his book, and completely rearranges his apartment. His brother gets killed, so Eddie steals the entire supply of NZT. Soon he’s learned several languages, mastered the piano, and is winning millions of dollars off of the stock market. This all happens in a span of days. Unrealistic, but it’s satisfying to see Eddie driving a Maserati down the streets of Monaco, with a swimsuit model in the passenger seat. It serves a voyeuristic wish-fufillment sense that engrosses the viewer. But Eddie’s rise inevitably leads to a fall. Gangs and sharks begin suspect that Eddie has a large supply of NZT for his personal use. They want him dead so they can have the NZT. Meanwhile, Eddie is running out of NZT. You would expect a downer ending, but unfortunately not. Hollywood forces a happy ending against all logical odds. It is truly horrible.
Limitless may be uneven, but the movie always has a sense of cool about it, even though it’s intelligence falters at some points. Bradley Cooper is a very capable leading actor, and the premise is interesting. I recommend this film despite its logical fallacies. I will give Limitless a 7 out of 10.