Bradley Cooper stars as Eddie Morra in Limitless as an unmotivated, down-on-his-luck writer. In the film, Morra lives a disheveled and shallow existence until his life is transformed by a drug called NZT. This drug allows the user to access 100 percent of his or her brain, effectively giving them superhuman intelligence.
The film claims that humans use only 20 percent of their brain. In reality though, this is a myth, since 100 percent of the brain is used at different times. The movie is good as long as the viewer is able to forget this slight oversight. After all, how many movies are totally scientifically accurate anyway? The film is fun, thrilling and enjoyable. What more do you need from a trip to the theater?
Bradley Cooper shines as Eddie Morra, who goes through many metamorphoses over the course of the story. Despite his superstar status, Cooper is able to make you believe he is a dull-witted writer who never bloomed.
On the flip side, he’s more than capable at being a master charmer and intellectual once he takes NZT. On a side note, it’s equally impressive that he can convincingly speak Italian, French and especially Mandarin later on.
He has a good supporting cast (including Robert De Niro) but ultimately Cooper steals every scene he’s in. With his surprisingly wide acting range and command of physically-intense action scenes, one can only hope that he lands more rolls like this.
Most impressive of all are the visuals. The film is not eye-candy like, say, Iron Man or Star Trek, but it chooses to use visual effects with a “quality instead of quantity approach.” Creating visuals for what’s going on in someone’s mind is no small task, but Limitless gives the best impression to date.
For example, when someone is remembering an event, they don’t remember verbatim how it happened. Only the crucial parts are kept and the important parts are focused on. Flashbacks are handled similarly in the film. They’re jarringly cut and spliced so that only the fundamental actions are left and the superficial elements onscreen are darkened, bringing all the focus to one specific person.
In other scenes, images and words fly across the screen as Eddie Morra accesses every bit of information he’s ever ingested. Limitless is a perfect example of how computer-generated special effects can complement a movie. The cinematography is also brilliant. Scenes without NZT are dull and depressing. They’re dimly lit and have a rather monochromatic palette. Conversely, scenes with the drug are literally golden. It’s the difference between Kansas and the land of Oz in The Wizard of Oz.
Limitless is a good precursor to the summer movie season. Bradley Cooper gives the movie credibility and makes it more than enjoyable to watch. It introduces ideas about power and responsibility that will stick with you after you’ve left the theater. Ultimately, Limitless is a smart way to spend two hours. Pun intended.