Limitless

6 May

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There are certain common questions that every man and woman on this planet has pondered, maybe when day dreaming or sharing idle chit-chat with friends. “How would you spend your money if you won the lottery?” might be one of them. “What super power would you choose if you could have any you wanted?” is a fairly regular issue to consider. “How many different combinations of swear words can you think of to adequately describe Piers Morgan*?” is also a popular one.

Well, 2011 sci-fi thriller Limitless takes one of those common questions, namely “What would you do if somebody gave you a drug that made you know everything there is to know?” You see, when Eddie Morra runs into his ex brother-in-law, that is exactly what happens. The brother-in-law quickly explains to Eddie that humans only use 20% of their brains, but this drug will un-tap the remaining 80%. Science, yeah? Basically, if you take it, you know everything. The film explains it as simply as that and doesn’t try to flesh it out with a real explanation. This is a good thing, it knows that it is here to entertain and once that scenario is laid out, it gets on with its primary task.

Eddie decides that with his new hyper-intellect, he’s going to play the stock market. However, to do this he needs money, and despite a large supply of intelligence-boosting pills, he doesn’t have much cash. So, he takes a short term loan from Gennady, a shady Russian gangster (Andrew Howard). Eddie promises he will repay the money, and Gennady explains in gruesome detail what will happen if he doesn’t. Despite quickly making millions in his new venture, and knowing literally everything and having a perfect memory, the repayment slips Eddie’s mind for no discernible reason. It’s a fairly significant plot hole to be honest.

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Poor Eddie starts to encounter some problems. Amongst them is, “What happens when you run out of your mystery clever drug”. It turns out bad things happen. You get headaches and you vomit and you lose your chemically enhanced intelligence, which must be disappointing. This is a scenario that I feel the film presents too many times. Eddie runs out of drugs, he gets ill, then he finds some more and everything is fine again. Then he runs out again and needs to find more. In truth, it’s a plot device used one too many times.

Another problem Eddie encounters is, “What happens when the scary man you owe money to finds you and makes you pay him?”. Well, obviously, you end up with a few bruises. But you also accidentally reveal your drugs to him and he takes them, becomes clever and wants more and more, and he keeps hunting you until you end up in a shoot out with him. At least that’s what happens to Eddie.

I am perhaps being a bit more flippant than is necessary. I’ll be honest I enjoyed Limitless, but it’s difficult to accept that Eddie just forgets to pay Gennady his money back, and I felt there should have been some explanation for this.

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Another massive plot hole is the ending of the movie. Obviously I won’t give it away but after a thoroughly entertaining, if fairly ridiculous film, we’re suddenly given a “12 months later” ending, where we’re given the flimsiest description of what has happened in the last year. I was unimpressed by it and unfortunately it takes a lot of shine off the movie, and undoes a lot of the hard work that has gone into creating an engaging thriller.

Credit is due here to the casting. Bradley Cooper is perfectly acceptable, if not show-stopping as Eddie, Robert De Niro is in fine form as ruthless business man Carl Van Loon and Abbie Cornish does nothing wrong as Eddie’s love interest.

Limitless is a film I’d recommend, it looks the part and is well acted. The story is simple but engaging, but suffers massive due to a rushed, unsatisfying conclusion and a couple of unforgiveable plot holes.

7/10

*For the record, there are 478 combinations of swear words to describe Piers Morgan.

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2 Responses to “Limitless”

  1. biggreenjelly May 8, 2013 at 08:46 #

    I hadn’t remembered the plot hole but you’re right, it’s a big one.

  2. Akbar Saputra May 10, 2013 at 18:09 #

    Good review. Mostly agree with you. As “Limitless” tries to be literally limitless by the power of the drug, it is unable to handle the plot holes. A bit annoying.

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