Film Review: Limitless

Limitless features a pill that can open up the brain’s full capacity. Rather than offer enlightenment, the film instead offers pure entertainment. This is by no means a bad thing.

Eddie Morra is a struggling writer who lacks motivation. When a face from the past offers him a mysterious pill which will allow him to become the best version of himself, Eddie takes it. Eddie sees an immediate improvement to his capabilities, but things aren’t so rosy when he realises he is being followed…

Limitless is an enjoyable action thriller that combines the right amount of action, suspense and drama. The film moves at a good pace; it never really drags or goes off on a tangent. It is not obvious how Limitless will conclude. The film retains enough mystery to make the ending unpredictable. Twists in the film are subtle rather than defining, and as a result are more effective than many films that use the shock twist device.

The idea of a pill that could expeditiously improve cognition to an uncharted degree is a very interesting concept. Although the film can certainly be classified as science fiction, it does not really explain how the pill was formulated. This lack of rationale is not a problem as the story is really about Eddie, and what he does with his newfound power. The choices the protagonist makes are personal rather than what could be seen as more universal decisions. It is this that makes the character interesting; he does not necessarily plump for the sensible or considered option.

The cinematography and editing in Limitless are superb. The film has a very individual look to it; the stretching through the landscapes and locations is quite unusual. Director Neil Burger appears keen on using the visual to convey the mindset. The multiple Eddies indicate the speed at which his mind is working, just as the zooming through locations suggests how muddled the character has become. Effects throughout the film are good.

Bradley Cooper is a fantastic lead in Limitless. More often found in comedies, Cooper is just as adept in this action thriller. Hopefully his performance here will lead to more challenging roles for the actor. Robert De Niro is capable as ever in a small role, while Anna Friel looks very unlike herself as Eddie’s former wife Melissa.

Limitless is a highly entertaining film that should satisfy a wide demographic. It is certainly one of the better recent action thrillers.