New Release: In Cinema’s Wednesday 23rd March 2011
Review By Ross Hughes HCF Critic
Its quite fitting that Limitless is released at a time when everything is just so stressful. With normal people struggling to pay bills, the recession hitting hard working families, there does not seem to be no fun anymore in just living a normal life. The theme of chaotic and chaos swamps the early running time of this film in which most viewers could easily relate to, its character Eddie Morra (Cooper) is like the rest of us, just trying to do the right thing, even if it means lying to all those around him. He pretends everything is all right and that he is doing ok, but the truth is that he is sinking and not swimming. The sharks are at the door, and there is no light but darkness at the end of tunnel.
With his flat a mess, his good looks slowly showing the strains of stress, he needs a pick me up, something that will lift him from the murk’s of despair, it just so happens that the very thing is on its way. Taking a walk to clear his head he bumps into his ex brother in law Vernon (Johnny Whitworth) who offers him a pill, a chance to lift himself from this world. Before the Matrix brothers get on the phone to their lawyers and shout “Rip Off” from the roof tops, Eddie does not wake up in cold water to find that computers have taken over the world. No does the film become a serious drug problem feature in which Cooper tests his acting skills in hope to win an Oscar, even though the drug subtext is there. This is different, this pill is not blue but white, and it does something quite wonderful.
The human race as it states only uses a certain percentage of their brain. About 20% if I am right, so what is the rest for? Ok, this film does not even try to explain why we don’t but it does show a neat idea on how life would be if we could access that part! The pill which Eddie takes makes him do just that, and soon he is using 80% of it all which of course makes his life go from zilch to Mr Popular. Soon he is writing pages of his novel for fun, can learn and speak different languages in a second, play the piano, damn he can even play the stock market, even his ex girlfriend Lindy (Cornish) is sniffering around. Eddie looks good and feels great, but like all instant success, a price needs to be paid. His success at the market grabs the attention of Gordon Gekko- no sorry wrong film, but that of Carl Von Loon (De Niro), who likes the style of this new kid on the block.
Before you can chant “Greed is Good!” The drug angle is back in the fore when Eddie needs some more, but when tracking down Vernon to get some, he finds out that he has been murdered and the film then takes a swing into a dark direction. It seems those who have taken the pill have ended up meeting their maker, and soon Eddie becomes paranoid with a man in a tan coat who seems to be following his every move.
Soon and like always, Eddie’s life goes back down a spiral route, there are Russian gangsters, he is linked with a murder of a local girl which makes him a police suspect, and he begins to question if it was all worth it, like the film itself, he is out of breath, the pace of how things have changed starts to overcome him, he is struggling for air and so will the viewer, because Limitless is one of the fast paced thrillers in recent years!
Yes, the film is relentless. It does not once stop and think, its a rollercoaster ride that fans of this style will lavish with praise. Centre to the mayhem is Cooper an actor who I am mightily fond of. Having come a long way since his side character in TV show Alias, Cooper carries much charm in each film he has made, and here he seems to relish the responsibilities of carrying this picture. Its his energy that makes Limitless a good watch even though the film at times loses its way because its so hell bent in going with the flow!
Side plots get lost at times because of the speed, some moments of required tension does not bare its potential when it should have, but what can I say when there is so much fun going on. Visually its fantastic and there are some great supporting acts from the likes of Anna Friel even though De Niro does not over act but still shows the class that has made him such an idol for many of years.
Limitless may not be as clever as it thinks it is, the blend of Sci-Fi and Thriller works a treat but the comparisons to Inception are way off simply because the two styles are way different even though in some quarters this is being compared to that Nolan flick. Those expecting another does of head bending reality may be disappointed because Limitless soars when you go in expecting not much. Already this is has drawn criticism for highlighting drug use, its moral line is that “drugs is good!” which I found nonsense. Yes you can not ignore the running theme, and it does offer up the interesting question “Would You Take It?”, but to say this is drug dealers wet dream is stupid. That for me is a notion that too many people are reading more into it than they actually should.
Limitless is enjoyable from start to finish, a film that will lighten up your mood in the recent times of real life darkness and stress. It will make you happy and content, and most of all, it will make you feel all this without the need of any pill!……..so where is the harm in all that!