Genre: Thriller Director: Neil Burger
Cast: Bradley Cooper, Robert De Niro, Abbie Cornish, Anna Friel, Tomas Arana, Johnny Whitworth, Robert John Burke, Andrew Howard RunTime: - Released By: GV Rating: TBA Official Website:http://www.iamrogue.com/limitless
Opening Day: 7 April 2011
Synopsis: Bradley Cooper and Robert De Niro star in "Limitless", a paranoia-fueled action thriller about an unpublished writer whose life is transformed by a top-secret smart drug that allows him to use of his brain and become a perfect version of himself. His enhanced abilities soon attract shadowy forces that threaten his new life in this darkly comic and provocative film.
Fact- we can only access 20 per cent of our brain. Is there a solution to this, you ask?
Well, yes actually, there is a pill called NZT-48 that will allow you to access all of it.
Question- would you take it? Ok, maybe it’s a bit of a stretch to ask you to imagine the implausible without first demonstrating the “Limitless” possibilities it unravels, so here’s an example of what it can do.
Before the pill, Eddie Morra (Bradley Cooper) is a blocked writer still finding the first words of his long-overdue novel. He is unshaven, lives in a shabby rented apartment in Chinatown, and has just been dumped by his girlfriend Lindy (Abbie Cornish). Post-pill, Eddie finishes his book within four days, picks up several new languages- each one within three to four hours- and builds up a two million-dollar investment portfolio on Wall Street within two weeks.
Wish-fulfilment for most perhaps, but you could very well live the dream. And you know what the best part about it is? It was all you in the end. Yes, you were the one who accomplished it all, not through cheating, but on tapping on the full spectrum of your own innate cognitive abilities. Now tell me you don’t want a high like that? Am I overstating it? Nope, not at all.
The caveat? Well, yes there’s that. It’s illegal you see, non-FDA approved, and may have side effects if you change the dosage you’ve been taking it at too quickly. There are also dependency issues, so once you start, you can’t just quit it. Other than that, you just have to deal with the saturated colours around you, the tightened focus with which you view things, and the occasional time warps where you lose time and can’t quite remember what just happened right before.
If you need a visual demonstration of how this all feels, well look no further than director Neil Burger’s enticing 105-min advertisement here. Burger may have taken the drug himself, for he shoots in the same adrenalized manner the pill is supposed to work, using endless forward-zoom effects and 360-degree panoramic spins. Combining a music-video style with some nifty CGI, the result is something that looks and feels so energetic that it matches the hyperactivity the drug is supposed to unleash, and makes for a uniquely trippy and mesmerising experience.
Burger is complemented with smart witty lines from his writer Leslie Dixon, adapting the conceptual form from Alan Glynn’s “The Dark Fields”. Many of these lines she places in Eddie’s head to be conveyed through his intermittent voice-over narration- crisp, sharp and not without an intelligent sense of humour. And what better way to get your adrenaline pumping and your mind working than to introduce a little danger, and then elevating the stakes?
Yup, nothing like a bit of jeopardy to demonstrate the abilities your mind has when it comes to self-preservation, protecting itself and therefore you. A Russian loan shark (Andrew Howard), a couple of murders and a Wall Street tycoon who goes by the name Carl Van Loon (Robert De Niro) oughta do the job- so watch as Eddie works his way out of these spots of trouble, with NZT-48 helping him to think faster and better than his enemies.
To make the deal even sweeter, how about throwing in the hunk from “The Hangover” to play Eddie? And guess what- if you don’t already know, the dude can act, very well if I may add. Utterly convincing as the down-and-out writer at first, absolutely dashing and debonair as the NZT-ed version of Eddie- Cooper makes Eddie likeable every step of the way, even if his character doesn’t always deserve it. For some female beauty, how about the Australian actress Abbie Cornish, who bears more than a resemblance to fellow Aussie Nicole Kidman, and looks just as hot as she did in tights and stockings in the recent “Sucker Punch”? As a bonus, you’ll also get Robert De Niro, an acting luminary who twinkles with polished menace in his supporting role here.
Now come on, you have got to admit that you’re definitely intrigued by this point. Here’s the thing, we forgot to add the word “fiction” right before the second paragraph from the top. There’s no such thing as NZT-48- it’s all make-believe. But don’t you wish there was really something out there that could allow you to tap on the “Limitless” possibilities inside your own mind? Well at least for now you’ll just have to contend with the best approximation of that, and it’s all right here within this Neil Burger film that you’ll be wishing doesn’t end. Indulge and enjoy it while it lasts- yes, you’ll savour every minute of it.
(A movie that dares you to imagine by imagining it for you in limitless visual panache and dynamism- in other words, it's one heck of an electrifying thriller)
Review by Gabriel Chong