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March 19, 2011 | 1:36 p.m. CST
Limitless begins by introducing audiences to protagonist Eddie Morra (Bradley Cooper) in media res as he stands on the balcony of his New York penthouse. Being pursued for his stock of a miracle drug, Morra finds himself deciding whether to jump or face his assailants despite having none of the super drug left.
While audiences are left wondering through most of the film whether he takes the plunge, this film definitely takes a nosedive that it can’t recover from in the ensuing hour-and-a-half.
A film that didn’t quite know what it wanted to be—a sci-fi thriller, a tale of corporate espionage, a fable about greed for power, or just another story about a starving artist trying to make his big break—Limitless tried to do it all.
Nominally, Limitless is the story of a New York writer struggling to finish his book. When Morra is introduced to the top-secret drug NZT that unlocks full brain capacity, he finishes the book in no time. After witnessing this potential, he sets his eyes on a much larger prize.
This movie’s plot is as big and sprawling as the city it is set in, and audiences will wish that they had that dose of NZT to follow all the quirky plot shifts. They might even find themselves laughing at how patently ludicrous the plot becomes at points.
These off-key moments include Eddie drinking the blood of his rival off the floor of his penthouse—don’t ask.
For all that was wrong with the movie, it was at least visually stimulating—at times. The cinematography was uneven, and will make audiences feel like they were on one bad drug trip.
Someone should have told director Neil Burger when to stop. Unlike Eddie Morra on his wonder drug, this film couldn’t do everything.