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Judy Thorburn's Movie Reviews


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4_Chicks_Small Judy Thorburn
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We live in a society obsessed with pill popping as the potential cure all of a seemingly endless list of physical and psychological maladies or disorders. There is a pill for sickness, weight loss, contraception, depression, erectile dysfunction, and so on as well as illegal pills swallowed for recreational purposes. The one thing they all have in common are side effects, many of which are dangerous. Yet, most of the time the benefits outweigh the risk factor and we don't usually think twice about the ramifications until it is too late.

So, the question posed is what if there was a pill that could access all, as in 100%, of your brain instead of just 20%? Imagine what it would be like to unleash limitless capabilities and reach your full potential. What would we do with that power and what repercussions would it have?

After appearing in big screen comedies, Bradley Cooper takes on his first leading role and admirably carries this fast paced thriller as Manhattan based Eddie Morra, a struggling, down on his luck, stringy haired, unkempt writer with writer's block. We meet him on the day his girlfriend, Lindy (Abbie Cornish) breaks up with him and he is about to be evicted from his apartment. But as luck has it, he runs into his ex-wife's unreliable brother, Vernon (Johnny Whitworth) he hasn't seen in nine years who offers him an amazing new, experimental drug called NZT that he says will help Eddie focus. Figuring he has nothing to lose, Eddie swallows the clear round pill and shortly after discovers he can remember anything he has ever seen or touched and could access anything ever stored in his brain for whatever he wants, as long as he keeps taking the untested drug.

In an “I was blind, but now I see” moment, Eddie comes to the realization that he can't stay messy and cleans up his apartment, cuts his hair and gives himself a fashion makeover. Suddenly words start flowing from his brain. He finishes his book in four days, becomes fluent in any foreign language, masters the piano, and becomes a Wall Street day trader, turning a few thousand dollars into $2 million in less than two weeks, an accomplishment that catches the attention of energy mogul Carl Van Loon (Robert De Niro, in a one note role that he could do in his sleep) who wants to enlist his help in a merger. Meanwhile there are other shady characters lurking about including a Russian loan shark (Andrew Howard), that want a supply of the drug for themselves.

As the supply of NZT dwindles and debilitating side effects such as headaches, skipped time and memory loss, begins to take hold, Eddie has to figure out a way to find an endless supply of the drug while being a target for those who want a piece of the action.

Director Neil Buger (The Illusionist) working from a screenplay by Leslie Dixon based on Alan Glynn's novel, The Dark Fields, utilizes some neat camera tricks and visual effects to emphasis what is going inside Eddie's brain. Cooper is convincing in the role and makes a believable transition from unattractive deadbeat to a self confident, brainiac with GQ coverboy looks.

As an energizing thriller, Limitless certainly delivers the goods from beginning to end. On the down side, the films suffers from some loose ends, plot holes, and questions left unanswered. I was entertained, but felt it could have explored the subject further and not just equate brain power with the desire for monetary wealth.

For a film titled Limitless, the potential to be great felt short.

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