Saturday, 26 March 2011

'Limitless' Review

'Limitless' (dir: Neil Burger, 2011), Cert: 15

That good looking guy from ‘The Hangover’ (2009) has finally got his leading role in the new Action Thriller ‘Limitless’. I’ve been looking forward to this film for some time; it had a promising trailer, great promotion and stars actors I’m very fond of; Robert De Niro, Abbie Cornish and of course the leading man, Bradley Cooper.

Eddie Morra (Cooper) is a struggling writer who’s desperate to get a book published. He’s been battling with writer’s block for some time and it’s starting to take a hold on his life. After a surprise meeting with an old ‘friend’, Eddie is given a clear experimental pill called MDT which enables him to access 100% of his brain’s functions causing Eddie to become a ‘super’ version of himself. His whole life changes; he completes his book in 4 days, he begins to make mega money in a matter of minutes and soon he’s tackling the giants of Wall Street. Soon people begin to take notice of Eddie’s change including Carl Van Loon (De Niro); a multi-millionaire businessman, who knows he could use Eddie to make billions, but it’s not long before the drugs starts to take hold of Eddie and his world seems to be unable to keep up with him.
 As I mentioned earlier I was excited for this film and I went into the cinema with high expectations, probably too high in all honestly. ‘Limitless’ is kind of like a concept car; it looks great, it has ferocious speed and has tons of imagination, but you never really see it outside of the showroom. I suppose what I’m trying to say is that ‘Limitless’  has a lot to admire and is certainly a fun movie, but it’s just not as good as it should have been. The trailer made it look quite humorous as well as being edgy, but actually this was a little too serious for it’s subject matter, and I think that’s a huge error. Plus the film doesn’t really have much in the way of a narrative; Eddie is rubbish, he takes a drug, Eddie is awesome, a few things happen, he makes a lot of money and then a scary Russian guy pursues him. That’s about it. There’s no real conclusion or moral which isn’t essential to every film but when you’re dealing with drugs, it’s pretty much a given. Hollywood still do not like their films to end on a negative note, but people who take loads of drugs and cheat their way to the top usually have a comeuppance, Eddie doesn’t really. I’d be lying if I said I was bored during the picture because I wasn’t at all, but I’d also be lying if I said I was thrilled by it too.
Still from 'Limitless' (dir: Neil Burger, 2011)
 It’s not all bad though; Neil Burger’s direction is fast-paced and pin-pointed, it sports some lovely editing with letters falling from the sky and numbers appearing on ceilings, it has a great soundtrack and it’s an entertaining picture for a Friday night, but I can’t help but feel a little disappointed by it. Maybe it’s my fault for expecting a lot but after reading numerous gleaming reviews for it, I couldn’t help but think it was fairly average overall.
 I can understand why many people have praised this film because it is an interesting and genuine piece of filmmaking, but I’m surprised by the amounts of clichés and tropes that are stuck in, and I’m more surprised that critics haven’t really commented on them. If you had the power to do absolutely anything in the entire world, why would you become a banker? I just couldn’t get my head around it.
 The performances are good however; Cooper was an excellent casting choice for Eddie and it’s nice to see him leave the comedy behind for a brief moment. Cornish was very good as Lindy; Morra’s partner and De Niro was fun enough as Van Loon but I feel he was only there just so the poster and promotion could boast ‘and ROBERT DE NIRO’.
I’m sure this reviews seems like I’m tearing it to shreds which I don’t mean to do nor did I intend on doing; as I previous said I thought ‘Limitless’ was entertaining enough and I would recommend it, just don’t enter the cinema with particularly high hopes because they might get diminished.  

Well worth watching, but beware the fact that it’s actually rather limited.
By Chris Haydon

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