Limitless (2011)

Limitless is the newest film by Neil Burger, based on Alan Glynn’s novel and starring Bradley Cooper, Abbie Cornish, Anna Friel and Robert De Niro.

Eddie (Bradley Cooper) is a struggling writer, a slob and pretty much hits rock bottom when his girlfriend Lindy (Abbie Cornish) breaks up with him. In that state, he runs into an old acquaintance who offers him a new drug that can boost his intelligence. Eddie accepts and in the brief time the pill works, he starts writing his book (finally), cleans his apartment and gets his life on track. In short, he gets completely hooked. It’s only when his supply is threatened that he notices the downsides: among other things, withdrawal can be deadly.

From start to finish, one thing dominates Limitless: its stupidity. That a movie about an intelligence increasing pill can be so dumb is, in itself, fascinating. It just isn’t terribly entertaining. There are a few good things about it, but mostly I just wanted to shake people (in front and behind the camera) for being such morons.

The film needs a lot of premises to work. Like that we only use 20% of our brains, which has been disproven so often, I can’t but sigh, roll my eyes and move on with my life when it’s still featured somewhere. But more jarringly, it it has so many wrong assumptions about being intelligent that it makes one question whether there actually was an intelligent person involved in the whole thing. Being intelligent is not the same thing as being knowledgable or remembering stuff (and when can we get over the illusion that everything we ever saw is hidden somewhere in our brain and nothing is ever forgotten?). Being intelligent does not make you any less of a slob or suddenly interested in fashion and working out. [It also does not give you abs in 2 minutes, but I’ll concede that point as poetic license.] But most importantly, being intelligent does not magically solve all your problems. Not even being extremely intelligent.

But even if you accept all the premises [which I just couldn’t], the movie still tends to be rather contradictory: so, Eddie learns every language flawlessly in a matter of days, but the Russian mobster, who takes the same pill, doesn’t even manage to speak English without an accent? [And even if we say that his basic IQ was lower that still doesn’t make sense.]

But apart from the basic *headdesk*, I started to hate the cinematography and direction at about minute one, when the camera zooms through New York in a nauseating display of “my technique, it is edgy and cool.” I did like the way they tried to show Eddie’s high but they just never made up for that zooming crap (which happens a few times during the film).

Bradley Cooper wasn’t bad, but both De Niro and Anna Friel were tragically underused. Actually, Abbie Cornish, too, but Lindy gets at least a few moments. It just isn’t enough to make for an actually entertaining film.

Summarising: yeah, no.


One thought on “Limitless (2011)

  1. Pingback: Lucy (2014) | kalafudra's Stuff

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