May 15, 2012

Why Only Writers should watch Limitless [Review Time]

Your deductive powers are a gift from God or chance or a straight shot of sperm or whatever or whoever wrote your life-script. A gift, not earned. You do not know what I know because you have not earned those powers.
You're a writer. Well, you're a person with an idea for a novel and it's all tumbling around in your brain even if you can't really call yourself a writer because you haven't written a word yet. But you're going to be a novelist, it's just not coming out. Enter NZT, a dream drug that will unlock the 80% or so of your brain that goes unused every day. This pill doesn't make you smarter; it's YOUR potential that's being unlocked. That book you've had bouncing around in your head comes pouring out onto the pages and it's brilliant. Your editor can't put it down.

That's where Limitless begins. It ends somewhere a little far-fetched but we'll get to that. Eddie Morra (Bradley Cooper) is an aspiring writer, but in the words of Stephen King, "writers write." Eddie's more accurately described as an alcoholic and a soon-to-be bum because he's suffering from severe writer's block. Every writer ever should check out at least the beginning of this movie so you have something to laugh about when you find yourself in this position. Laugh yourself right out of it. The beginning of Limitless was rather brilliant. Brilliantly shot, directed, acted. It really starts off on a good foot, raising the expectations you had for it entering the theatre. It's got a neat sci-fi premise and a great foundation. Oh where did it go wrong?

I'm hesitant to even call this sci-fi because honestly, it's only the crazy extent to which the drug works that breaks it out of realism. They say fish is brain food, and I'm quite sure there are drugs available that increase brain capacity, but maybe nothing this crazy-good. It also doesn't do something most sci-fi should - comment on a social reality or present a society that is dealing with the outcomes of a new technology. Limitless doesn't do that. It stops very short from actually being thought-provoking. We see how Eddie deals with the fallout of NZT, which of course has some deadly side-effects and starts to throw his life into chaos, but the effects are not far reaching.

After a great start, Limitless goes off on a a bit of a chase. Someone's after Eddie for some reason. They go after his girlfriend as well. Boring stuff, and it never really had a satisfying conclusion. Yawn.

Predictably enough, Eddie has to deal with running out of NZT and losing the edge that has made him a top player in the stock market... Pretty much gives up on the whole writer thing... the stock market, really? So being really smart will make you abandon your passions and all your aspirations will go towards getting filthy rich? Interesting conclusion...

The intelligence of Limitless drops right off very quickly after Eddie becomes super-smart. It completely loses its edge. I found it ironic that one of Eddie's brightest moments is early in the movie when he's been off NZT. He needs to find more of the drug in his dead dealer's apartment and figures out that it's hidden in the oven based on the fact that dealer Vernon asked him to go get him breakfast, not wanting to use the heating element because that's where he's got his stash, and I was surprised that the movie didn't play up that irony at all. It never really came back. I guess it could be foreshadowing for the end when Eddie's off the drug (or so he says) and doing very well as a politician without it (yeah, that's believable).

The end of the flick came off as very pointless, futile and not very powerful. And excuse the spoiler, but what was with the blood drinking? Ugh. This is another time where he has a good idea off the drug, showing that his regular brain works pretty well. His last pill of NZT was taken by a thug that was trying to kill him, and when said thug, Gennady (Andrew Howard) dies and is bleeding on the floor, Eddie realizes that the NZT he needs to get out of this situation is in the blood. So he drinks it. Very gross. And frankly, they felt like they were trying too hard to do something people would talk about, to generate hype. They also tried to class-up the fight scenes by making them rely on Eddie's brilliantness on NZT and the great ideas he has in the heat of battle. Didn't really work. And the ending was a big let-down. I won't spoil it but just, brace yourself for disappointment and weakness.

In conclusion, Limitless is a don't watch. I would say the only possible value it has is those first couple scenes for those of us with writer's block. After that it' pure tripe. But if you're dead set on having it for your DVD collection, pick it up on blu-ray through my Amazon Associate's link, here.

No comments:

Post a Comment