Reviewed by: Thaisha Geiger
|Featuring:||Bradley Cooper—Eddie Morra
Robert De Niro—Carl Van Loon
|Director:||Neil Burger—“The Illusionist”|
|Producer:||Many Rivers Productions
Boy of the Year
Bradley Cooper—executive producer
“Everything is possible when you open your mind.”
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**
“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.