Limitless (2011)

film Limitless Thriller

Image by Des Geeks et des lettres via Flickr

Limitless is based on Alan Glynn’s The Dark Fields and stars Bradley Cooper and Robert de Niro in a fight for the top actor in this film. Limitless is energetic and exciting but it lacks the script or the momentum to hold its own against other popular films of a similar genre. It is described as a techno-thriller and is another film among other blockbuster films that are adaptations from novels. It comes as no surprise to audiences that Limitless is a film that is more concerned with action, thrills and cost than it is with real dialogue, with real motivation or with a consideration of moral and ethical positions. Limitless could have been an impressive film, one that explores the neurological impact of enhancement drugs but instead it sells itself short in favour of action and excitement.

There’s no denying that this film is an exciting film, one that grips audiences as Edward Mora (Bradley Cooper) realises the potential of an enhancement drug known as NZT-42 which boosts his intelligence. It’s claimed that “we only use 20% of our brains and this drug can open us up to 100% of our brain” and, in taking this drug, Mora is able to publish a novel and become a millionaire in a matter of weeks. On his tail, however, are others who have had a taste of this drug and want more. The reason? Because the result of not taking the drug is sustained headaches, nausea and, in time, death.

When Mora is drawn to the attention of Carl Van Loon (Robert de Niro), a man who holds large shares in oil companies and is seeking a merger with another oil magnate, what follows is a series of events that are explosive and powerful. Mora is hunted for his large supply of drugs by a number of people, all the while realising that he is on the verge of collapse of his own supply dwindles. Mora is stalked, hunted and assaulted for this drug. It could have been done better. The film could have been done better. There is the exchange between Edward Mora and his ex-wife Melissa (Anna Friel) who we discover has taken NZT and is now “slowed” in her actions, although she doesn’t die. That’s the problem with the film – the script writers haven’t decided what the impact of the drug should be. Does it cause death or does it not cause death?

The truth is that for all the high-octane action it puts it, for all the effort it makes in terms of cinematography, done expertly by Jo Willems, director Neil Burger and producer Leslie Dixon have failed to make a convincing film. The film is little more than a series of events involving Edward Mora interspersed with sub-plots like his relationship with Lindy (Abbie Cornish). Even Robert de Niro’s character seems to have been put in the role to act as a propellant to the main plot – the impact and use of this drug. It’s true that the modern audience is looking for action thrillers, psychological thrillers and horror films but interspersed with those genres are the gems of the film industry like Mark Romanek‘s Never Let Me Go or Brad Furman’s The Lincoln Lawyer.

Films that are adaptations of novels should be looking at the message contained within those works. What Neil Burger and Leslie Dixon have done is to make a potential gem into another action thriller, another film that’s nothing more than chase scenes, expensive restaurants and the occasional gun fight. The film is good but it’s not great and it should have been. This film should have been great.

About ICaithness

Such is the nature of life that it is difficult to describe oneself, for the simple fear of complete subjectivity. I, for one, would propose that others look to my friends, companions and acquaintances for an analysis of my personality. Alas, I find that I must write something in order to inform my readers of my personality and my linguistic nature. In order to do that, I shall write as objectively as I can. There is little to be said for the sparse writing that I do on occasion, save that it often has a philosophical undertone and best represents the person that I am. Writing is, as was once seen, a beautiful and therapeutic method of examining the world. The words we create are mere 'mirrors to reflect the creations of Nature'. In essence, our hand creates that which reflects our life best. Philosophical though I may be, there is much more to me than pure complex and abstract thought. I am no more a philosophy than I am a man. It is only the presentation of said self that helps to create an identity, a face which represents life in all its glory.

Posted on April 3, 2011, in Film, Reviews and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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