Our Score: 4 out of 5 stars
It is said that most humans only use 20% of their brains. But what if there were a pill you could take that would wake up the other 80%. What if you could remember every bit of information you ever read in a book or heard while glancing at television. Would it be a blessing? Or a curse?
Eddie Morra (Cooper) is a writer with a problem. He has nothing to write about. A chance meeting with an old acquaintance introduces him to a new pill called NZT. “Going to be huge,” he’s told, “and only $800.” Liking the effect Eddie visits his friend to refill his prescription. What he finds will not only change Eddie’s life but the lives of those around him.
Cleverly directed, “Limitless” is visually brilliant. Director Burger, who also did the Edward Norton/Paul Giamatti film “The Illusionist,” takes the audience along with the camera. Whether it’s through the eyes of Eddie or an amazing tracking shot down New York’s 125th Street, you are pulled into the action. But the film is more than just gimmicks. The story, based on the novel “The Dark Fields” by Alan Glynn, is just plausible enough, which makes the choices Eddie makes even more curious. Need to speak Italian? Give a book a quick read through. Want to play piano like a master? It only takes three days. About to square off against some bad guys? Think back to that Bruce Lee movie you saw when you were eight.
Cooper does well when Eddie falls under the influence of NZT, but falters occasionally in the more dramatic moments. He’s always played a fun loving party boy, so when the time comes to buckle down you can’t help but wonder if Cooper can pull it off. De Niro is…well De Niro is De Niro. To see the two leads face off verbally is a treat, though as noted Cooper is not as strong as he could have been. But there are enough ex girlfriends, crazy mobsters, mysterious men and smooth camera tricks to keep you entertained. Just don’t take any pills you’re not sure of!