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    April 17, 2011

    MOVIE REVIEW: LIMITLESS

    LIMITLESS (18)

    Genre: Thriller/Mystery
    Release Date: 14 April 2011
    Running Time: 105 minutes
    Distributor: Relativity Media, Golden Screen Cinemas
    Director: Neil Burger
    Screenplay: Leslie Dixon, based on The Dark Fields by Alan Glynn
    Starring: Robert De Niro, Abbie Cornish, Bradley Cooper

    Plot: Eddie (Bradley Cooper) is an unemployed copywriter that believes all hope is lost when his girlfriend (Abbie Cornish) leaves him. However things start to change when Eddie finds himself in possession of a drug that has some curious effect on its user. From his first hit, he realises that the drug boosts the intellect. It makes him highly focused and confident, thus he uses the drugs to come up in the financial world. Before long he catches the eye of business mogul Carl (Robert De Niro) and several hitmen who are in close pursuit to acquire the NZT drug.

    Review: Experts say that we human only explore 20% of our brain capacity leaving another 80% potential buried. Then, they go on and found this drug called NZT, some crystal clear drug siblings of New Zealand Natural (NZN) ice cream that opens up the 80% of the remainder, making you feel limitless. One pop a day can stimulates you to finish a novel in four days or banging your landlord's wife after 45 minutes of finishing a thesis paper. Now would you want life likes that? Why not you thought. But the movie has a few problems in its scripting, read on to find out more.


    Based on Alan Glynn's The Dark Fields, Limitless tells the story of a writer named Eddie Mora (Bradley Cooper) who recently been dumped by his girlfriend Lindy (Abbie Cornish) in addition to failing to meet the deadline to turn in his new book, which he hasn't written yet. One day, Eddie comes across Vernon Gant (Johnny Whitworth), the brother of his ex-wife Melissa Gant (Anna Friel). Vernon is a drug dealer who offers Eddie a sample of a new drug, NZT-48. Eddie accepts, and, much to his surprise, the drug increases his intelligence and improves his focus.

    Eddie asks Vernon for more of the drug, and Vernon agrees. When Eddie returns to Vernon's apartment after running an errand, he finds Vernon dead. Eddie finds a stash of NZT. With Vernon's money and the NZT, Eddie creates a new image for himself and abandons writing to enter the stock market, borrowing capital from a Russian thug. He becomes rich at an incredibly fast pace and is soon employed by the powerful businessman Carl Van Loon (Robert DeNiro). Eddie also gets back together with Lindy. Meanwhile, he feels that he is being followed by a man in a tan coat (Tomas Arana). Soon, the side-effects of NZT appear.


    Surprisingly and unsurprisingly, Limitless is a movie that hangs on both the pretty and ugly of a piece of sub-par standard Hollywood writing. The opening 10 minutes of the movie is powerfully effective and leaves the audience to truly begging to know what is going on and how the events lead to that. Next, the audiences are introduced with the narrative story anchored by Cooper himself, a look of assessment into himself from looking like a drug junkie into becoming a street smart gentleman with paradigm shift. Comes the middle part, which is advocative been annoying and bored. In the end, the story ends with not even any sense of empathy nor caring are expected and spared over the characters and the story. It is pretty shame to note that despite a clear cut excitingly visualized by director Neil Burger, Limitless is vaguely underdeveloped and been limited.

    The script by Leslie Dixon comes out been inconsistent both on pace and on tying things up. The pace is pretty uneven and it could not holds enough attention because of the frail details and been underdeveloped to begin with. The beginning stint is cleverly introduced but the first sign of plot-fall in the movie comes after a mysterious 18 hours of life black-out that completely wiped out of Eddie's memory. After that particular event which I think is not even explained properly later becomes a total U-turn for the movie. Indeed the story becomes quite sporadic and contains plenty of plot-holes. What gives the drug been so powerful that it does not cause addiction or overdose to its users? What are the real side effects of NZT because the 18 hours black-out only occurs once - sounds pretty much like an alcoholic hangover? Did he ever killed a woman int he process of hangover and subconscious? These questions are never answered properly during the later stage and leaving some unsatisfactorily feeling and loop holes exposed.


    The premise of this high concept thriller with some traces of sci-fi wannabe is nevertheless been strong but Dixon unable to make things by exploring more possibility. Then comes an ending that nobody bothers. Although Limitless is pretty limited by its poor writing, Bradley Cooper is a good in the eye actor. His performance is solid but nowhere near great expectation. He is given a great deal of witty dark humors to chew and he does it convincingly.  One thing for sure, Abbie Cornish is good but Robert de Niro is underused again. The role of Mr Carl Van Loon is arbitrary and his purpose is to deliver the final twist of the movie but at that point I care less for the movie already. Director Neil Burger presents Limitless in a highly technorative manner with visible and plausible motion-sickening film editing. It is part of the unexplainable abstract beauty. Some even hailed its cinematography to be as good as the one we have seen in 'Deja Vu'

    Limitless should have been really limitless instead of been unexplorable limitedly been sucked up into a messy script. Limitless is less brainy than 'Source Code' (the one that I watched last week) and surely been mediocre at best because of the limited explanatory and exploratory. It's not that this movie is at anyway bad or what so ever, it's just failed to content the high concept premise it offers. It's just a movie anyway in the end.

    THE RATING:
    Story: 3.0
    Casts: 3.5
    Cinematography: 4.0
    Effects: 3.5
    GREEN-TEA-O-METER: 13.5
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