I don’t know if I could give any one sentence review of LIMITLESS that would be more telling than- LIMITLESS is somewhat limited in its ability to achieve and stay a worthwhile and compelling thriller. I enjoyed more than half of the movie- but the remaining half of LIMITLESS was shaky at best. The filmmakers seemed intent on trying to make a couple different types of movies which ultimately harmed my overall perception of the film.
“What if a pill could make you rich and powerful?” That’s the tagline of LIMITLESS which stars Bradley Cooper as a rugged and struggling writer, Eddie, who gets propositioned by an old acquaintance for a free taste of a pill that gives the taker full control and access to all areas and potential of their brain. Eddie gets access to a large stash of the drug in order to fuel his creative juices and drive to making money and unlock a means to make extremely large amounts of green. What Eddie doesn’t take into account is that his free access to a precious pill is not being taken lightly by certain individuals which turns out to be extremely harmful to his well-being.
My biggest problem with LIMITLESS is that I was much more engaged in the science of the drug Eddie takes than I was in the people hunting him down. I found the social and physical repercussions of the drug far more interesting than any of the character drama and the deeper into the film I went the more the action amped up and overall science toned down.
Bradley Cooper does a great job, my problems do not center on his performance so much as the script starts off as more of a character piece and then morphs into more of an action thriller- and the action isn’t all that great. Robert De Niro drops by if for no other reason than that he’s Robert De Niro and they could use him to market the film, but I also enjoyed what I could of his character. LIMITLESS features Cooper as their main chess piece, but as anyone knows it’s pretty hard to achieve check mate with a single pawn alone.
There are some really great introductions to elements of drug abuse and addiction but from a new perspective of a drug that doesn’t cause a high so much as it stimulates great things within your brain. LIMITLESS only briefly explores the dangers of operating at such high brain activity and the following crash once the effects of the drug wears off which was very disappointing. The film then also introduces some odd aspects of what appear to be learned superpowers and the ability to travel great distances without even realizing it, which is an interesting direction but something that again is only explored briefly and rehashed for reasons that only serve to the more action centered parts of the plot.
Visually there are some very eye catching techniques used at scattered moments, some that ended up being a little headache inducing. There’s a technique used a few times, the first during the credits where the a scene is set up and the frame zooms in and acts as a tracking shot that’s goes through cars and down streets continuously that’s visually interesting but somewhat nauseating.
The ultimate downfall of LIMITLESS is its need to achieve more than it really needed to- which mirrors the actions of the film’s protagonist. Bradley Cooper proves that he can headline a film, it’s just a shame that the film he’s headlining didn’t have a more focused director leading him along. LIMITLESS is ambitious to the point of dumbing itself down and not having enough confidence in adhering to a single tone or direction. There is definitely more good than bad on display in LIMITLESS, but the less endearing aspects bleed through and sour some of the more enjoyable moments of the film.