|Eddie contemplating taking NZT the first time.|
However, Limitless is a pretty amazing film. Perhaps a little more violent than necessary (a needle stabbed in the eye seems to be my threshold), but wonderfully suspenseful and gripping, Limitless follows Eddie Morra (Cooper), a writer without a word to his name who stumbles upon an old friend with a drug for him. Known by its initials, NZT will let you see and remember and coordinate everything you've ever experienced, making you smarter, wittier, and luckier than anyone you've ever met. Eddie finishes his book, but realizes how much more he can be and that life is really about money. There's a moment when he thinks he'll change the world if only he had enough money - but we never really find out what he plans to do with the money. But he ends up working for mogul Carl Van Loon (Robert DeNiro in an amazing supporting performance). This is at heart a story about drug addiction - but what if taking the drug actually DID make your life better, and perhaps the world around you, rather than sinking you to the depths of despair.
Well, will all great things, there's a price for this drug - it can kill you or totally screw you up if you keep taking too much of it, plus anyone who knows you have it will come after you. But this movie does a better job than most filling the holes in its mythology - for someone who has become infinitely smart, you'd assume they could figure out how to control the side effects and availability of the drug. There are a few other struggles Morra has to overcome (including a Russian mobster), and he drags girlfriend Lindy (Abbie Cornish) into helping him. But it's not a romantic story - though the screenwriter Leslie Dixon is behind Hairspray, Freaky Friday, and Just Like Heaven. Director Neil Burger is only known for The Illusionist, but keeps a tight control on the directing - taking a page from Aranofsky's Requiem for a Dream getting high sequences. Cooper does a great job carrying the movie almost entirely on his shoulders. Overall, a good movie that leaves you breathless but kind makes you feel a little dirty for ever liking this guy to begin with. 4 of 5 stars/lambs