Limitless (2011, Neil Burger)
Eddie Morra (Bradley Cooper), a down-on-his-luck and depressed novelist, stumbles upon a new experimental drug called NZT. This revolutionary pill allows a human being to access one hundred percent of their brain, as opposed to the standard twenty percent that the majority of us utilise in our everyday lives. Shortly after using it, Morra begins to conquer both the artistic and financial worlds but, with his supplies dwindling, various sinister figures on his case and the drug’s side effects beginning to bear their teeth, will he be able to stay on his lofty perch?
Let’s get one thing straight. Limitless will not be entering many ‘top 10 films’ lists for 2011. On the whole, it’s a mixed bag, but that does means there are positives: The camerawork is highly experimental and at times rather impressive. The underlying idea is great and the non-comic book superhero is a welcome break from the overload of costume-clad superhumans that have so regularly appeared on our screens in the last decade.
While the visuals have been listed as a positive above, the reality is many of them just don’t work. Numerous complaints of nausea have emerged relating to the opening sequence and it’s easy to see why. The colour palette is also too obvious: grey and grungy scenery while Morra is off the drug, light and crisp while he’s on NZT. None of the performances are blemishes but you can tell the actors are working within the confines of an average script. De Niro in particular appears to be just going through the motions; Bradley Cooper tries his best but unfortunately his character never seems that interesting or likable. There are also a few plot-holes. Though not completely disastrous they’re enough to disconnect you from the story. The ending in particular feels unsatisfying; maybe this aspect could have been improved easily (see below). The overarching feeling that shrouds Limitless is that it could, maybe should, have been so much better. Here you have a great idea — taken from a book called The Dark Fields — that had bags of potential to be a great movie, and also seemed relevant to this day and age, but it just doesn’t amount to much. Overall it’s a disappointment.
The DVD is very snazzily put together, but doesn’t contain a lot of substance. There’s a standard making-of featurette complete with short interviews, but the only purpose it serves is to emphasise how hard everyone on the shoot worked, rather than offering up anything of interest. It becomes apparent that the thought processes behind the film were relatively simplistic and there’s really not a whole lot of depth here. The only extra of any note is the alternate ending, which might be a bit goofy but is still marginally preferable to the original. This is a DVD light on bonus content.
This DVD will be released in the UK on Monday, 1st August 2011.