Movie Review: Limitless


Release Date: 3/18/11

In preparation for this year’s fall TV slate, I moved Limitless to the top of my Netflix queue.  It begins with my “favorite” plot device – the hero in trouble, oh no!  Let’s see how we got there.  I don’t really enjoy voiceover narration either, which Bradley Cooper supplies here – I generally believe that if the storytelling is strong enough we can figure out the plot.  The voiceover kinda works with this movie though, as it is supplied throughout.

Eddie Morra (Bradley Cooper) is a struggling writer, behind on his rent, and his girlfriend dumps him.  He runs into his ex-brother-in-law (a drug dealer), who gives him a “magic” pill (NZT).  The NZT gives him perfect recall – he remembers everything he has ever heard or seen, no matter how inconsequential.  It gives him the energy to clean his apartment, write his novel, write his landlord’s wife’s law paper, and then have sex with her – All that in the first 24 hours of taking the NZT.  That is one heck of a pill.  A pill that good must have a downside (we find out later it does – if you stop taking it YOU DIE – a pretty big downside).

The brother-in-law is murdered the very next day.  Eddie finds his brother-in-law’s stash of NZT, and begins to take it daily to improve his fortunes.  At this point, the plot begins to fall apart.  There isn’t a strong antagonist (you would think that the murderer would be a good one, but he only seems to pop up when it’s convenient).  Eddie borrows money from the Russian Mafia so that he could invest in the stock market.  Despite making $2 million in two days on the stock market and a “4-digit IQ” Eddie doesn’t pay him back immediately – so the Russian Mafia as the antagonist shouldn’t really exist because it was such an easy fix, especially for someone so smart.

Here’s the list of questions I had after watching Limitless:  Why was the brother-in-law murdered (semi-answered)?  Why didn’t Eddie just payback the mafia right away?  Where does the NZT come from (semi-answered), or at least, where did the brother-in-law get his supply from (not answered)?  Did the ex-girlfriend (and then-again girlfriend) continue to take the NZT or was the dose not large enough to kill her after she stopped taking it?  Why don’t more people take it?  What would happen if everyone took it?  Why are they perpetuating the myth that we only use 10-20% of our brain?  Did Eddie murder the hooker (they just dropped that storyline)?

As you can tell, I thought the plot was a little thin.  Makes me concerned for the upcoming TV series, but hopefully they will answer some of these questions.

WWYT Rating: 5.5

IMDB Rating: 7.4


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