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Movie Review

Limitless

MPAA Rating: PG-13 for thematic material involving a drug, violence including disturbing images, sexuality and language.

Reviewed by: Thaisha Geiger
CONTRIBUTOR

Very Offensive
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Moviemaking Quality:

Primary Audience:
Teens Adults
Genre:
Action Suspense Thriller Drama
Length:
1 hr. 45 min.
Year of Release:
2011
USA Release:
March 18, 2011 (wide—2,400+ theaters)
DVD: July 19, 2011
Copyright, Relativity Media click photos to ENLARGE Copyright, Relativity Media Copyright, Relativity Media Copyright, Relativity Media Copyright, Relativity Media Copyright, Relativity Media Copyright, Relativity Media Copyright, Relativity Media Copyright, Relativity Media Copyright, Relativity Media
Relevant Issues
Copyright, Relativity Media

pride and arrogance vs. humility

true wisdom

FILM VIOLENCE—How does viewing violence in movies affect families? Answer

Is “everything possible when you open your mind?”

supernatural power

Featuring: Bradley Cooper—Eddie Morra
Robert De Niro—Carl Van Loon
Abbie Cornish—Lindy
Andrew Howard—Gennady
Anna Friel—Melissa
more »
Director: Neil Burger—“The Illusionist
Producer: Many Rivers Productions
Boy of the Year
Intermedia
Relativity Media
Virgin Produced
Bradley Cooper—executive producer
more »
Distributor: Relativity Media

“Everything is possible when you open your mind.”

Copyrighted, Relativity Media

A common medical myth states that humans only use about 20% of their brains. If this were true, one can only imagine the boundless levels of intellect. From manipulating the stock markets to brilliant articulation, the opportunities could seemingly be endless. With this intriguing premise, “Limitless” constructs its entire plot.

Eddie Morna (Bradley Cooper) is a hippie-looking guy who is trying to write his first novel. Problem is, he has not written one word. To make it worse, his girlfriend Lindy (Abbie Cornish) is understandably fed up with his permanent dead end of a life and breaks up with him. Now single, broke, and with his novel deadline fast approaching, Eddie’s world looks gloomy. All that changes when he runs into his former brother-in-law, Vernon Grant. The two go out for coffee where Vernon reveals he’s a high-end dealer and offers Eddie a brain-enhancing pill.

This pill, NZT, runs for $800. It allows the mind to run at its full capacity. Hesitantly at first, Eddie takes it with astonishing results. He’s able to finish his novel in a mere four days and earns two million within 2 weeks at toying with the stock market. Eddie has a whole new world opened to him where he’s first amazed and then arrogant. Thus ringing true, Proverbs 16:18:

Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall.”

Though the viewer does witness his downfall, the movie’s loopholes and ending are personally unsatisfactory. **Some spoilers** Yes, we do get to witness Eddie’s newly luxurious life come crashing down, but he never truly changes his actions or faces any real consequences. One female is supposedly murdered. Did he get away with it? Or is he actually innocent? Though this could remain unanswered, the ending is what bothered me. After all is said and done, Eddie is shown still intelligent and arrogant. It’s heavily implied that he creates a better version of NZT which he’s able to quit at any time. Thus, he’s still technically a drug addict with a strong willpower. The movie’s morale seems less about the damaging effects of drugs but rather a celebratory fact that if one can quit at anytime, then all is well. **end of spoilers**

Objectionable Content

“Limitless” has a high level of objectionable content. Vulgarity is around the 16 mark (4 as*, 10 sh*t, and 1 “f” word). God and Jesus’ name are misused about a handful of times. Though rather moderate on the uses of profanities, the movie’s very heavy in its sexual content and violence.

There are two sex scenes. In the first, the camera shows only the legs and lowered pants, while the second zooms in on a woman’s heel. The camera shows her panties around her ankle. Both have graphic sexual noises. A third sexual encounter is implied with a woman removing her shirt.

As for the violence, it’s also very heavy. One dead victim is shown with a gaping bullet wound in his head. While rummaging through the dead victim’s apartment, Edward even sits beside the victim, contemplating what to do next. There is a fight scene, but it is done more humorously with montages of Bruce Lee. There are two stabbings which are very vivid and graphic. One victim slowly dies and as his blood pours on the ground, Edward desperately drinks from the puddle in order to get another high. Severed, bloody hands are shown in two scenes. In the second scene, one of the severed hands is displayed to show his middle finger. While holding a needle between his teeth, Edward stabs a man in the eye, making him blind.

The film predominately demonstrates the effects of the pill NZT. To actualize this, the visual direction and cinematography are excellent in adding deeply saturated colors, montages, and strong zooming effects—depicting what being on NZT feels like. With the ending not a true testament to the potentially detrimental consequences of drug use, I felt the movie was rather shallow, in terms of providing a thought-provoking theme. Because of the aforementioned and very heavy objectionable content, I don’t recommend “Limitless.”

Violence: Heavy / Profanity: Moderate / Sex/Nudity: Heavy

See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.


Viewer CommentsSend your comments
Comments below:
Positive
Positive—This is an important movie you should see, if you are extraordinarily talented, or if your relative is extraordinarily talented. I believe that there are demonic forces at work in the world. Those that dismiss the Devil as unreal are mistaken, in my opinion. What this film shows to an extent, because it does not show the real jealousy that exists of people with a gift from God outside the USA in particular, are the really bad things that await you, if you have a gift from God. You will be challenged and attacked by forces that I believe are demonic. There will be great efforts to corrupt you and stop you from using your gift in the Lord’s service. more »
My Ratings: Moral rating: Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 4
—Blue, age 52 (Australia)
Positive—I really enjoyed this film. From the beginning of the movie I thought that the idea of the brain enhancing pill was a clever and new idea. I don’t understand why some of the other people who rated this movie think it’s so violent. Yes there are a few murders and a couple fights but this is not an action movie by any means. There are a few swear words, but there aren’t many. I would say this is totally an acceptable movie for other Christians to view. Overall, I would say this is one of my top favorite movie, and I will surely watch it again.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Better than Average / Moviemaking quality: 4½
—Jack, age 29 (USA)
Positive—I just wanted to say that I agree with Jack. I almost passed on this movie, based on the review, because I do not like to watch movies, no matter how well made, that have excessive profanity. However, I did not notice very much language at all, which made this movie even more enjoyable to watch. I saw this with my 24 year old son who noticed the same thing. We both really enjoyed it. If you like this genre I highly recommend this movie, but I agree that you should heed the PG-13 rating for younger viewers.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Average / Moviemaking quality: 5
—Rhonda, age 50 (USA)
Positive—This is a very intriguing movie. Very thoughtful and original. It definitely kept me guessing, I had no idea how it was going to end. The acting was all good, as was the film-making. There was a very disturbing scene when a man drank another man’s blood in order to get more of the drug he was addicted to, but other than that I liked it.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Average / Moviemaking quality: 4½
—Kiara, age 19 (USA)
Positive—Probably one of the more intelligent and original movies to come out in a while, despite being based on an urban legend regarding our limited brain use. The acting was solid and the story was told in a clever way. Looking past the violence, language, and brief sexual situations (all of which was not too much worse than what’s typically on TV these days), I was struck by the lesson which the movie considered as the human tendency to overreach. We Christians know it as sin. more »
My Ratings: Moral rating: Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 4
—Bruce, age 47 (USA)
Positive—I was greatly surprised by this movie. I thought I was going to turn it off soon, which I usually do in cases where the movie is extremely offensive. The filmmakers portrayed the evil that can happen and that we can do, yet, they did leave quite a bit more to the imagination than what most other movies do. This does not make it a movie to take anyone under 17 or 18 though. I do NOT think it is a movie for the 13 year old. more »
My Ratings: Moral rating: Better than Average / Moviemaking quality: 5
—Shelia Sibilsky, age 33 (USA)
Neutral
Neutral—Another movie I am surprised is PG-13 for the amount of violence and murder in it is significant, and the fact that he sleeps around a lot, even though they don’t really show it. The idea of accessing more of your brain power was interesting, if you can do that without drugs. I liked the movie thinking of it from that perspective, but after seeing it again with my husband, there was quite a bit of negative stuff, so I wouldn’t really recommend it for most Christians. It won’t add a lot of value to your life, and even though it’s interesting, there are a lot of twists with adultery, murder, crime and the like.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 4
—Samantha, age 36 (USA)
Neutral—This movie had an interesting premise, and it was creative. The concept of using 100% of your mind and how that theme works through the movie is good. However, I felt that there were so many negative and non-redeeming themes in the movie, it took away from the overall film. In a word I would describe the movie as “Worldly”. I think someone with such great “power” could do so much more than a sleep around and seek to feed their own ego. I suggest this only for the very mature Christian viewer who is not sucked in by the very worldly negative aspects of the film.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 4
—John, age 37 (USA)
Negative
Negative—Just want to confirm what another viewer wrote, the whole movie is about a guy taking a pill that makes his brain operate at full capacity (i.e., Limitless). He gets addicted to it and can’t live without it. Someone else finds out he has the pills and tries to get them and kill him. There are a lot of killings, and, in one scene, blood drinking (someone threw-up during that scene in the theater while we were there). Interesting story idea, but pretty graphic towards the end.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Very Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 4
—Drew, age 33 (USA)
Negative—This movie promotes the world’s lust for transhumanism. Such ideas are increasingly being promoted through the secular film industry. Folks, we are being desensitized to this stuff, namely the idea that man can evolve into demigods through science, evolution and knowledge. This is Eastern Mysticism repackaged. This movie presented consequences for such actions, but ultimately glorified them, even presenting the main star as becoming god-like.

Additionally, the sexual lewdness within this film (while not showing a lot) left little to the imagination. It left me feeling like I’d defiled my mind after watching it. Scripture warns us that we’re to guard our hearts and minds. I would NOT recommend this movie… at all!
My Ratings: Moral rating: Extremely Offensive
—Tony, age 30 (USA)
Negative—This movie was very offensive. It’s main plot was the bad guy wins. The cheater wins. The one who has no conscience or morals wins. It was depressing, slow, and negative. The violence of the person’s hands cut off was very disturbing to me and really unnecessary. I watched it till the end and couldn’t believe that even until the last moment there were no morals. No nothing. It was a waste of time, and the filming made me dizzy.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Extremely Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 3
—Bethany, age 39 (USA)
Negative—I want to start by mentioning that the acting was excellent and the premise was good, but there were several negative points that I need to mention. First, the movie contains several instances of the main character, Eddie Morra, involved in several very blatant sexual encounters. Second, at the end of the movie there is little (if any) consequence to Eddie Morra for his drug use and immoral behavior. I watched hoping that Eddie Morra would learn the error of his actions and repent of his ways, but it seemed that this was not the case.

Despite the fact that Eddie lied to police, covered up a murder he probably committed, got mixed up with the mob, and manipulated his way to wealth and power, the movie ends with him running for Senate and apparently none the worse for his drug use and wrongful actions. While there is nothing wrong with legitimate self-improvement (i.e., reading, working hard, etc.), trying to elevate yourself far over and above others for your own purposes will always lead to suffering for you and for others.

While the movie started to convey that truth in the middle of the film, it seemed to end with the opposite message.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 5
—Tom, age 31 (USA)
Comments from young people
Negative—…I have one word for this movie “horrible,” …This movie is for adults or maybe older teens; overall, not a good movie.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Extremely Offensive / Moviemaking quality: ½
—Brian, age 13 (USA)
Comments from non-viewers
Negative—My siblings and I went to go see this movie. The whole movie is about a guy taking a pill that makes him “Smart.” He gets addicted to it and can’t live without it. Others find out he has the pills and try to get them and kill him. There are a lot of killings, and, worst of all, blood drinking. We walked out of this movie. It was not something I wish I saw. I understand that not everything has to be “Christian”, but this went against every aspect of the Bible.
—Leslie, age 18 (USA)