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Limitless


What would you do with limitless abilities? Break Vegas? Learn a new language or skill? Set your eyes on Wallstreet? Eddie Morra (Bradley Cooper) does all of this, and then some, in the adrenaline rush, Limitless.

Grade:

Morra runs into his former brother-in-law and learns of a new drug that gives the user complete access to their brain and cognitive abilities. Morra takes his newfound abilities and clarity into corporate America, while learning about the drug, specifically the side effects, as he goes along. Robert DeNiro supports as Carl Van Loon, the corporate mogul attempting a historic merger with the help of the new wunderkind, Morra. The effects of the drug are general on purpose to allow it to manifest differently from user to user. For most of the movie, these symptoms are within the realm of possibility. Morra learns to fight quicker because he watched Bruce Lee as a child, or knew about law from a teacher’s assistant he courted. There is an emphasis put on things previously seen, read or heard making it easier to master new things. Of course, this seems to merge with supernatural powers as the movie progresses somewhat distancing the audience from the storyline.

Cooper seems to have mastered the arrogant, yet likable protagonist. Before the drug, Morra is a genuine guy who is trying to get his life on track but doesn’t have the (mental) capabilities to do so. With great power comes great ego, Cooper reprises his typical (Hangover I&II, A-Team) suave narcissist. Director Neil Burger finds places for Cooper to use his French fluency, some Italian and Chinese (not sure if Cantonese or Mandarin) and a somewhat incomprehensible Russian line, though to be fair it is a hectic scene making any dialogue difficult to hear. DeNiro’s character is never given much more responsibility than trying to control Morra’s ego. There are very few scenes that do not involve Cooper or DeNiro making the rest of the characters somewhat insignificant.

There is an odd reliance on visual effects that appear in two situations: to make a typically boring situation interesting (crunching numbers) or right after taking the drug and “becoming limitless”.  Both situations are used to shepherd the audience in the right direction and alert them of what exactly is occurring. The effects signifying the drug are appropriate, but off-putting and nauseating, while the boring situations are made tedious with the visual additions. This, in combination with the soundtrack, over-stimulates your senses at points.

Once Morra’s on-and-off girlfriend (Abbie Cornish) becomes involved, the plot dissolves into a somewhat ridiculous chaos (two words: rink scene). I don’t anticipate Limitless making it’s way onto many peoples’ “favorite” lists, but it is entertaining and will make you wonder if you would make similar choices in the same situation.

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