LIMITLESS (Neil Burger)
LIMITLESS is a fresh, fast, and addicting thrill ride with a decent logical story and a star-making performance by Bradley Cooper. It being a morality tale, there's a moral lesson in the end- not quite what I expected but satisfying enough. There were questions in my mind after watching the film, some plot holes that were left in the dark, but after reflecting for a while, I found the answers in the story itself.
Eddie Morra is a struggling book writer who's hit rock bottom. He's about to get evicted from his apartment, his girlfriend (Abbie Cornish) breaks up with him, and he has a serious case of writer's block.
A chance encounter with his ex brother-in-law introduces Eddie to an underground drug called NZT, which can eventually allow a person to access 100% of his brain. The film then shifts its focus on the drug as it is the sole cause for the fortunes and misfortunes of the film's characters. Even so, the NZT suddenly becomes a main character.
Eddie gets rich, makes some powerful friends, and encounters a lot of enemies, too. The success is not without consequences. People chase him, blackmail him, and even attempt to kill him-all for the coveted drug.
The pacing of the film is intense and breakneck. Burger's strongest assets, next to the compelling story are his visuals and camera play, where the audience sees and feels what Eddie does. It's like in Gaspar Noe's ENTER THE VOID, the film is trippy, but without being vomit-inducing.
In the end, what I was looking for is a solid finish, a statement that Eddie actually does, or even tries to do something good for other people with his newfound power. The film closes abruptly and might I say, a little thin, but the "moral justice" I was looking for was actually standing there the whole final sequence. Maybe I need some NZT. Or do I?
Do we really need a drug so we can be able to do great things? The film offers a possibility that a chemical reaction can indeed enhance our intelligence. Within the film's context, this sort of power exists, but in the end the character of a person is irreplaceable. It's what matters.