Living Up to Your Full Potential ~ Movie Review of ‘Limitless’

Filed in Gather Writing Essential by on July 8, 2011 0 Comments

I loved ‘Limitless’; I loved it on all levels, including scenes that made me pull the hood of my sweatshirt over my eyes.  Because of the violence and grossness in some areas this film it isn’t for everyone, however if you want a good tale about living up to your full potential and beyond then you are in for a treat.


                Bradley Cooper plays Eddie Morra a down on his luck writer who miraculously has a book deal yet still hasn’t written a page so will probably have to give the already spent advance back.  His day gets really bad after his girlfriend played by Abbie Cornish breaks up with him.  She is on her way up on the career ladder as an editor while Eddie is like a mime trapped in an invisible box built of ennui.  As he is walking home from the ‘Dear John’ lunch his day, he thinks, couldn’t get any worse when he bumps into his former drug dealing brother-in-law (Johnny Whitworth as Vernon Grant) who, judging by appearances, is doing really well.  Not having the self discipline to turn down a free drink, Morra ends up having an impromptu therapy session with Grant.  Feeling for him Grant hands his ex in-law a drug called NZT-48 which he claims has been FDA approved and fires up the eighty percent of the mind that lies dormant most of the time.  He emphasizes it is a gift since one single pill goes for 800 bucks.  Because Morra realizes that he is a depressed mess he hesitates taking the pill because all he needs is to acquire a drug dependency on top of everything else.  However when he finally decides to do a little experimentation he realizes that with most of his brain working on all cylinders that writer’s block and his overall gloomy Gus outlook on life are things of the past…until the next day when he wakes to find he is back to his usually twenty percent.  That is when he decides to go knocking at Grant’s door.


                Maybe it is just me, but ‘Limitless’ spoke to me in the sense that I’m always trying to chase the dragon for more mental acuity with various energy inducing drinks and vitamins.  Judging by the abundance of such products at local grocery stores, I don’t think I’m the only one.  It is those rare moments when I find myself the smartest person in the room that can keep me going back to Red Bull hoping that the wings its advertising promises will soon allow me the sensation of flight again.  It might be a fantasy that you could actually learn a foreign language from listening to those CDs in your car, but wouldn’t it be nice?  The idea that every life experience one has had could be accessed when needed to make us super humans.  Really, don’t you every wonder why so much of our brain isn’t used?  I mean we can’t blame it all on cable TV, can we?         


                ‘Limitless’ is based on the novel ‘The Dark Fields’ by Alan Glynn who, along with Leslie Dixon, also wrote the screenplay.  The film was directed by up and coming director Neil Burger.  The movie has a great feel to it, but doesn’t push the boundaries to places the audience hasn’t been seen before cinematically; a new interpretation perhaps, which I think serves the story well.  If the look of the film had been overly trippy, I think it would have altered the focus from the story. 


                This movie, along with the anticipated release of ‘The Hangover Part II’ in May, will probably put Bradley Cooper up on the A list.  He flushed out Morra as an intelligent and humorous man with a plan who for years believed he couldn’t change the world to suddenly find that all it took was a little know how.  Robert De Niro makes an appearance as a Gordon Gekko type of character who makes a grand speech about putting in your due before becoming a master of the universe. 


                I would recommend seeing ‘Limitless’ in the theater (that ship has unfortunately sailed) however I think it will play just as well on DVD or cable (it comes out on July 19th).  If anything, you might be inspired to invest in a case of Red Bull.


Westerfield © 2011

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