Let Me Share Some Acting Tips
The film is based on a sexy premise of having the ability to unlock the full potential of one's brain matter, and think about it, the sheer mental prowess available to be tapped on to maximize benefits in almost everything you do. Would you do whatever it takes to have this at your disposal, even if it means becoming a drug junkie, addicted to a clear pill and of course addicted to the feeling of superiority that comes along with the turf?
For Eddie Morra (Bradley Cooper), a chance encounter with a drug pushing brother in law Vernon (Johnny Whitworth) meant an oportunity to go for broke with the offer of a pill that can dramatically change one's life for the better. Soon Eddie finds himself being able to think clearly, plan multiple steps ahead in what he wants to achieve out of life, from financial stability to getting his relationship with Lindy (Abbie Cornish) back on track, to just about possessing that Midas touch to being successful, recognized, and earning the kind of respect from his peers that his sad little existence never thought was remotely possible.
But the best things in life don't come easy, and Limitless is in two minds to being a cautionary tale about drug abuse and the over reliance of medication to get through one's day, or being adamant against that to promote that pill popping is indeed a wondrous shortcut to all things beautiful. In fact it walked on ambiguity for the most parts, though the engaging narrative by Leslie Dixon adapting Alan Glynn's novel keeps that at the back of your mind as you follow the adventures of Eddie Morra making it through obstacles every step of the way, especially when he so decides to build a nest egg before his supply goes out.
Director Neil Burger fused a number of special effects to the film, whose editing between the trippy scenes and the real world was flawlessly mesmerizing, as you can imagine just how addictive it could actually be if it was to be presented in an IMAX 3D format, right from the opening credits scene. What turned out to be slightly weak was the presentation of the side effects of NZT-48, which was the losing track of time through multiple encounters with self, since it didn't employ the best use of visual effects to portray just that, and having the narrative conveniently forget and to switch focus to certain death, probably sounded a death knell that this was a subplot best left abandoned, rather than to exploit the limitations of a sustained use or abuse of a shady substance.
Bradley Cooper is slowly but surely turning into a major leading star who will probably be able to soon marquee a film on his own. He plays the writer turned suave Wall Street raider with aplomb, and portrays both the zeros about being an addict, and the better versions of his character convincingly, being a man who on one hand builds up a wealth of knowledge and analytical skills through his unfair advantage, and on the other still shows a certain vulnerability stemming from being overly confident with an air of invincibility. Adversary comes in the form of a tycoon in Carl Van Loon (Robert De Niro), whose power and threats do not suffer fools, and De Niro still shows he's got it in him to play a nasty badass after a string of comedic appearances. The best scene in the film, hands down, belongs to the repartee between Eddie and Carl in the final act, at least up until the abrupt mention of a deus ex machina type revelation that exalts the merits of a continued succumbing to an addiction.
The story does take some unexpected turn of events to keep things fresh rather than to make Eddie Morra a one man Superman, and it builds on his conscience to break his cycle and to do the right thing. Sometimes it's easier said than done especially if what's wrong actually becomes a necessary evil and a crutch to continue sustaining a lifestyle of one's choosing. A little bit dark in treatment, but still recommended fare.