Movie Review: Limitless

Sci-f/Thriller, 105 Minutes, 2011: Limitless on IMDB

This movie started of on slippery footing with me because very early on it repeats the  premise that we only use 10% of our brain.  This inane, demonstrably false premise has to be stopped.  I’m serious.

While we’re at it let’s also stop having people explode when exposed to a vacuum, stop having people just get mad when a beer bottle is broken over their head and stop getting DNA results in hours.  Also – just for good measure – nobody’s allowed to rehash the Roswell (non) incident or reimagine Jack-the-Ripper anymore.

Got it?

Anyway, Limitless has a loser (Bradley Cooper) who stumbles on a new, secret drug that “allows him to use 100% of his brain” (grrrrrr.) In actual fact it basically allows him to use everything he’s ever seen or done and instantly make meaningful connections.  If you’re a fan of “Chuck” it’s a similar idea.

The movie actually plays the premise very well.  The acting is great and everybody is well cast.  For the first time in recent memory there’s a voice-over narration that doesn’t make me want to scream (and doesn’t treat me like I’m four years old).  The interplay between Cooper and Dinero is engaging and multi-layered.

The problem with the film is that it seems to bend under its own weight.  There are several side-plots and introductions that really just fizzle.  I was excited, for example, to see Anna Friel as Cooper’s ex-wife.  They introduced her (and some clear hooks) but after a short scene we never see or hear about her again.  Another major plot-line involving our protaganist’s blackouts is never satisfactorily resolved.

Worse is that the ending is… just there.  It’s clearly an attempt to try to do something different but its way too clean and packaged.  Too tidy.  “Limitless” is actually a very good movie, but some cut corners and a little hubris keep it from being a great movie.

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