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Monday, May 16, 2011


Release date in India:
April 29, 2011
Neil Burger
Bradley Cooper, Robert De Niro, Abbie Cornish

I’m afraid the cast listing up there is incomplete. It should read: Bradley Cooper, Robert De Niro, Abbie Cornish, and Bradley’s blue blue eyes.

But seriously … Limitless stars Cooper as Eddie Morra, a writer who’s going nowhere. He’s got a book contract and a deadline looming large, but not a word emerges from his head. Then one day, he comes across an untested wonder-drug called NZT that helps him tap 100% of his brain. NZT gives him the almost-superhuman ability to remember everything he’s ever read, seen, been told or heard. Overnight, he finishes his book, gets a haircut, metamorphoses from a scruffy bum to the handsome Bradley Cooper that we would much rather see, learns the piano and gets fluent in languages he’s never spoken before. When his supplier is killed, Eddie has to do whatever it takes to ensure that his supply never dries up – which is easy since all he’s got to do is pop an NZT pill and his brain immediately comes up with a plan! Suddenly – to borrow a phrase from another film in a totally different context – he’s the king of the world!

At some level, you may be tempted to dismiss Limitless as a silly film. Ya sure, a wonder-drug that expands your mind and brain so much that there is no limit to what you can achieve!!! … I bet that’s what some of you are thinking! But c’mon, loosen up a bit: this is science fiction, it’s fantasy, it is a thriller, it is funny, it is fun! Besides, Neil Burger’s direction and Naomi Geraghty’s editing pace up the proceedings so much, that you might not get the time required to think while you’re watching. The action in Limitless is quicker than even the speed of Eddie’s thoughts when he’s on NZT. And that’s just one of many reasons why I’d recommend Limitless to you. Cooper is not only delicious, he can also act. First in his down-and-out avatar and then as the perfect version of himself in Limitless, he gets a chance to show a much wider range than in either The Hangover or TV’s Kitchen Confidential for which he’s perhaps best known in India. And after a long time you will find that Robert De Niro is not taking his audience for granted in a film, almost redeeming himself here for the embarrassing hamming in Little Fockers. Almost.

Cooper the actor is like Limitless the film: easy to take for granted because of the delectable surface gloss. Limitless is so enjoyable that you might not notice that it raises deeper questions about drug abuse (the smarter you are already, the greater the advantage from NZT, so then does it count as abuse if it’s simply maniacally organising what you know?) and what different people might achieve with exactly the same help (witness the contrast between the ramped-up Eddie and the mobster who’s also hooked on NZT). And there’s that question Eddie poses to the audience at one point: if you had a choice to take a drug like NZT or not, what would you do? No seriously, what would you do?

What does Eddie do? He pops the pills, becomes a bestselling novelist, a Wall Street wizard, a newbie millionaire who catches the eye of billionaire business tycoon Carl Van Loon (De Niro) and certain undesirables, and … well, you really don’t want me to give too much away.

On the downside, there’s the fact that there are a couple of twists you can see from a mile away. And you may also wonder: if NZT could help a man conquer the universe, why does Limitless seem to imply that Eddie would settle for the United States of America?

Well, maybe the US is the Universe! After all, Bradley Cooper’s blue blue eyes live there!

Rating (out of five): ***1/4

Release date in the US:
March 18, 2011
MPAA Rating (US):
PG-13 (For thematic material involving a drug, violence including disturbing images, sexuality and language.)
CBFC Rating (India):
A with one cut (shots of a man drinking human blood have been removed)
Running time in the US:
105 minutes
Running time in India:
105 minutes

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