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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    ‘Limitless’ could use taste of its own medicine

    Imagine a drug that lets you access 100 percent of your brain. That means you can rock the question on your final exam about the one-sentence thing your professor never mentioned. It means you’ve suddenly mastered break dancing because you were once forced into watching “”Step Up.”” It means the stock market is your bitch and the world is your oyster.

    It means you are, undoubtedly, brilliant.

    That’s apparently what the miracle drug NZT does to you. It opens up more than that 20 percent of your brain that you regularly use (which technically isn’t true because you access all parts, just at different times). Such is the premise of “”Limitless.””

    When Eddie Morra (Bradley Cooper) recklessly takes a shiny pill given to him by his ex-brother-in-law, he turns from a bum of a writer into a sleek finance guru. In true rags-to-riches fashion, he suddenly cranks out a best-seller, wins back his girlfriend (Abbie Cornish) who dumped his sluggish arse (he deserved it) and wins the respect of a Wall Street mogul named Carl Van Loon (Robert De Niro).

    The film’s success stems from a surprising performance from Cooper. After “”The Hangover”” and “”The A-Team,”” it’s hard to not expect a rather flat, though charmingly roughish, character. Yet he excels at playing both sides of the coin — pre and post NZT. With the movie consisting of large portions of dramatic monologue about his newfound abilities, Cooper delivers his lines with an almost cocky self-assurance that makes you simultaneously root for him and want something terrible to happen. And his hairstyle changes are quite impressive. Just you wait.

    Supporting performances are decent and work well within the limited screen time they’re given. Cornish is adorable and understated, charmingly accepting of Eddie’s whims, though there isn’t too much in the way of their background. It would have been nice to see more of De Niro too, but he’s more or less trapped in a static character with little else in his brain besides the Nasdaq.

    The visual effects are an energetic cacophony of zooming fish-eye lenses and iridescent colors. In a market so saturated with laughable drug sequences, “”Limitless”” does a fantastic job skirting the cliché. The soundtrack is not something to put your nose up at either: lots of techno during the trippy scenes and some sweet Black Keys to wrap up the deal.

    It’s the plot that will trip you up. Despite a promising premise, the problems Eddie faces raise far more questions than they answer. After Eddie launches into his new lifestyle, the movie jumps into three acts that barely relate to each other. It becomes an odd blend of mob loan sharks, a race to find more NZT and pressure from Carl Van Loon. Oh, don’t forget to throw in the creepy guy out to kill Eddie and his girlfriend.

    “”Limitless”” could have been great, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t worth a watch. You’ll probably walk out of the theater thinking it’s an entertaining movie. Back home you’ll raise your eyebrow a few times at the plethora of loopholes. But in the end you’ll most likely just shrug your shoulders, start getting ready for class tomorrow and secretly want some NZT yourself.


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