Cast: Eddie Morra (Bradley Cooper), Carl Van Loon (Robert De Niro), Lindy (Abbie Cornish), Gennady (Andrew Howard), Melissa (Anna Friel), Vernon (Johnny Whitworth)
Director: Neil Burger
Theatrical release: 03/18/2011 DVD Date: 07/19/2011
Rating: PG-13 Running Time: 105 minutes
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Review: What if you could take a drug that allows you to access every part of your brain? One that doesn't make you smarter, but allows you to instantaneously take advantage of everything you've ever seen, ever learned? That's the premise of Limitless, a thriller-lite kind of film.
The movie opens with Eddie Morris (Bradley Cooper) pursued by thugs and about to leap from a tall building to end it all. But in order to explain this scene, one has to endure an extended — most of the movie, in fact — backstory that shows how Eddie goes from a nobody to a somebody, all due to a drug being distributed by his former brother-in-law. It's all rather boring and predictable and could have, indeed should have, been shortened considerably. A heavy finger on the fast forward button during the first hour or so would not be inappropriate.
The movie doesn't kick into high(er) gear until that opening scene is replayed, with the remaining few minutes being quite enjoyable, thrilling even. There's even an unexpected twist at the end. If only the whole film had been as entertaining.
Cooper seems well cast, though his transformation from bum to tycoon isn't quite as dramatic as the story otherwise suggests. De Niro's role is at most supporting; he's not in many scenes and says his lines without much enthusiasm. As with the script, it seems the filmmakers were playing it safe by not pushing the envelope in casting or character development.
Limitless is not a memorable film by any stretch of the imagination, but it isn't altogether forgettable either. To be sure, the final half hour makes up for a lot of lapses that precede it.