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DVD Review: Limitless

July 19, 2011

Limitless – An Alliance Films’ Release

DVD Release Date: July 19th, 2011

Rated 14A for sexual content, substance abuse, graphic violence

Running time: 105 minutes

Neil Burger (dir.)

Leslie Dixon (screenplay)

Based on the novel The Dark Fields by Alan Glynn

Paul Leonard-Morgan (music)

Bradley Cooper as Eddie Morra

Robert De Niro as Carl Van Loon

Abbie Cornish as Lindy

Johnny Whitworth as Vernon

(c) 2011 Dark Fields Productions, LLC. All Rights Reserved. Distributed exclusively in Canada by Alliance Films. All Rights Reserved.

Our reviews below:


Limitless DVD Review By John C.

**1/2 (out of 4)

In the opening scene of Limitless, Eddie Morra (Bradley Cooper) teeters on the edge of a building.  Flash back a few months, and he is a washed up writer struggling to finish a novel, who’s gone months without a haircut.  Then he is introduced to a drug known as NZT, a little clear pill that allows him to access the full capacity of his brain.  Within a few days, he finishes his novel and ends up with a lock on the stock market, before catching the attention of the mysterious business man, Carl Van Loon (Robert De Niro).  But as supplies of the drug start to dwindle, Limitless soon becomes a dangerous game of cat and mouse.

The first 90-minutes of Limitless sometimes approach a level of brilliance, with a smart script and snappy voice over.  The camera zooms in and around New York when Eddie is on the drug, often leaving the audience breathless as we too feel as if we are under the influence.  The lighting becomes brighter when he is on the pill, darker when he is running out.  Often messy and even thought-provoking, this is a drug movie in every sense of the word.  But then we reach a pointless epilogue that seemingly glorifies drug use, and in turn undermines everything that the movie should be about.  Limitless is ultimately a very hard movie to rate because there is a lot to admire about the film and some of the genuine risks it takes, I just wish it had ended a few scenes earlier.

The DVD includes audio commentary with director Neil Burger as well as a short featurette.  Also included is an alternate ending, which is briefer and only subtly different, but also far more effective.


Limitless DVD Review by Erin V.  

**1/2 (out of 4)

In Limitless (based on the book The Dark Fields by Alan Glynn), Bradley Cooper plays Eddie Morra – a struggling writer who becomes addicted to the ‘clear pill,’ or NZT-48.  Within 30 seconds of swallowing this pill, his mind feels clear, he can finish his novel, play the stock market, knows how to fight, etc.  Basically, anything he’s ever even seen in passing is now an easily accessible memory, allowing him to have access to an extensive knowledge base.  But the dangers of NZT soon become apparent, including the fact that you can’t just quit easily without reaping the physical repercussions of the withdrawal period.  But Eddie doesn’t want to quit anyway, which leads him to do anything to keep a stock of the drug.  The thing is though, others want it too, and soon he is being pursued by loan sharks and drug dealers.

In terms of filmmaking, the style is interesting, using a drained colour palette during the scenes when Eddie is off the drug, and a bright excessively enhanced one for while he’s on NZT.  This, along with the costuming and location choices, provides a nice visual cue for which side we are currently dealing with.  The acting is all quite good as well, with Cooper playing both sides with a clear and striking ease.

On the story side of things, it’s an interesting premise to be sure – what would you do if there was a drug that gave you the mental power and skills to become rich and powerful?  How far would you go?  Unfortunately the ending is a little bit ambiguous about what the true message of the film is.  The alternate ending on the DVD is a far better fit if you ask me.


Limitless DVD Review By Nicole

**1/2 (out of 4)

What if there was a drug that allowed you to focus on details so intently that you could figure things out in an ingenious way?  This is the premise of Limitless, a crime thriller that examines the dangers of drug trafficking.  Eddie Morra (Bradley Cooper) is an ordinary young man who is struggling with writer’s block.  The answer to his problem seems to arrive when an old friend introduces him to NZT, a powerful yet illicit stimulant that puts its users into a chronic state of extreme mania.  Eddie quickly becomes addicted to the drug, which initially allows him to become intelligent enough to earn millions overnight.  But NZT – like all street drugs – is highly addictive and often has deadly side effects if stopped cold turkey.  Now several drug addicts are in a life or death struggle with Eddie over the rare but powerful NZT.

Limitless is an uneven film.  Much of it, namely the first 45-minutes or so, are absolutely brilliant.  The fast paced and distorted visuals along with Cooper’s narrartion and performance, captures the feel of a person in a state of mania.  Where the film fell apart for me,  was the ridiculously saccharine ending, which is unrealistic for a person addicted to any substance.  This tacked on end follows an extremely gory yet realistically disturbing scenes, which I ‘watched’ with closed eyes.

I would have liked to have seen this movie end in a way that honestly showed the effects drugs have on people.  Nowhere do we see any signs of paranoia in Eddie or the other addicts, which would have been believable for someone in a manic state who is being hunted down by criminals.  That being said, Limitless is still an interesting film that I would recommend to anyone interested in psychology, neuroscience or social work.


Limitless DVD Review By Maureen

**1/2 (out of 4)

When aspiring writer Eddie Morra (Bradley Cooper) experiences writer’s block and his long-time girlfriend Lindy (Abbie Cornish) dumps him, it doesn’t take much to convince him to try a new mystery drug called NZT, offered to him by his ex-brother-in-law.  The drug, Eddie is told, will make his ability to focus and achieve limitless.  Limitless is part suspense, part psychological study and fully visually thrilling.  The cinematography showing the world through Eddie’s eyes when he’s on NZT is really interesting to see.  The story moves along at a steady pace with the suspense coming from the many criminal elements who pursue him.  Sensitive viewers might want to look away at several graphically violent scenes.

Throughout the story, Eddie uses his enhanced intellectual powers to become a financial genius.  The scenes where he is paired up with business tycoon, Carl Van Loon (Robert De Niro are some of the best.  De Niro is really good here, and Cooper also give a solid and believable performance as the drug-enhanced Eddie.  While the premise of Limitless is an interesting one, the story itself had some plot points that were left unresolved and an ending that left me shaking my head.  The DVD provides an alternate ending that is subtly different but felt somewhat more believable.  Still, Limitless is worth checking out for the cinematography and the excellent performances by the leads.


Limitless DVD Review By Tony

*** (out of 4)

Author Eddie Morra (Bradley Cooper) has had writer’s block for months, and with his girlfriend Lindy (Abbie Cornish) dumping him, his life is going downhill fast. Former brother-in-law Vernon (Johnny Whitworth) offers him an experimental pill called NZT that will allow him to access 100% of his brain with instant recall of all his past memories as needed. Feeling limitless, Eddie is able to clean himself up and write, but when the effects wear off, he goes back for more. He finds Vernon dead, but manages to grab his stash, a wad of money and an address book. Over the next few weeks Eddie uses his ability to instantly learn and analyze information from many sources to amass a fortune, which does not go unnoticed, particularly by business mogul Carl Van Loon (Robert De Diro), who hires him as a consultant.

Of course there is a downside to Eddie’s success. He discovers that most other clients in Vernon’s address book have not survived after running out, and some of them are after him for what he has left, leading to some very violent confrontations.

Though the adaptation from a novel by Alan Glynn directed by Neil Berger is for the most part a cautionary tale about drug dependence, the ending may be criticized for its moral ambiguity. The surreal images as seen through Eddie’s enhanced consciousness under a largely electronic score are impressive, though I found them a bit too flashy at times for my taste. However, with excellent support from the rest of the cast, Cooper’s narration and performance are brilliant, making this a film well worth seeing.


Consensus: Fronted by excellent performances from Bradley Cooper and Robert De Niro as well as some impressive cinematography, Limitless is a smart and entertaining drug thriller that is unfortunately marred by a seemingly pointless epilogue.  **1/2 (Out of 4)

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