Movie #170 Limitless
(2011, US, d. Neil Burger)
Limitless is a film with so much more potential than it showed. It’s about a pill that allows humans to access 100% of their brain power, as opposed to the 20% we do our whole lives. In fact, I think it would have made a pretty great short film. However, instead of being good, the film just comes off as cool. If that was the intention they were going for, then good for them. But I have a feeling that the filmmakers thought this film was a lot smarter than it actually turned out to be. But if they were going for “good”, then boy oh boy, were they far off. First off, hire a new writer. The logic of the sequence of the events after taking the pill that Bradley Cooper’s character goes through is completely off. He’s a writer one day and a stock market genius the next. What? It’s supposed to advance our mind not make us superheroes. Secondly, the film far too often falls into pitfalls, relying on completely unnecessary violence and murder sub-plots to pull itself out. Limitless shouldn’t be about who killed the innocent girl but about the repercussions of perfection. Finally, the soundtrack – by far the worst element of the movie. A note: ripping the slowest song from the NHL 11 soundtrack and putting it on fast-paced sequences will not captivate a filmgoer. But all this is said if they were trying to make a critical success. If not, again, good for them. As a star vehicle, Bradley Cooper proves that he does have chops and a little range and a whole lot of star-power. The cinematography, though at times excessive and a little showoff-y, does have its moments, particularly in an (overused) effect of a never-ending shot. Apart from that, this film is nothing to write home about but it does it have its originality going for it. Strewn in with theatrical films based of one thing or another or sticking to formula this way or that, Limitless stands out as an original venture, and that’s definitely worth praising.