Exploring the limits of “Limitless”

Photo courtesy of limitless-movie.info

What would you do if you could use 100 percent of your brain? Help people in need, save lives, gamble, become the president, play the stock market? You would probably need that 100 percent to even fathom what you would do if you could do anything. The whole notion of having complete clarity and extreme power over your entire being is a thrilling and complex concept.

Everything changes for Eddie Morra (Bradley Cooper) when he takes a little clear pill that gives him complete access to his mind. It was only by chance that he got it, but when he did, his life changed forever. He was a destitute writer (read: foundering slacker) up until that point. But the strange little pill he takes turns him into a vibrant and exciting go-getter. He creates ground-breaking fiction, learns countless foreign languages and wins back the affection of the woman who had given up hope in him – all in the matter of a few days. Then in the mix of charming the pants off of everyone he suddenly decides he must do more than simply write, he must do something big – something that would make a change.

For all of those wannabe super geniuses out there, “Limitless” is a story that will get you excited for the endless possibilities that could be in store … for the first 30 minutes. After Eddie experiences his epiphany, the story dawdles while we wait around wondering what Eddie’s big plans are. In the meantime, the guy is doing great at the stock market, where he works with big player Carl Van Loon, played in characteristic style by Robert DeNiro. Eddie’s time in the market is only briefly interesting (and only mildly, at that) to justify the amount of time spent on this part of the story. Too much else that would have been far more interesting is sacrificed.

By the time we finally reach the end, when we get to Eddie’s big plan, we think, “Oh, cool, that’s a good idea,” but by this point any possibility of a rewarding climax has fallen so hard that it is nowhere near as compelling as we hoped it might be. Even then we don’t really even get to find out how his big plan plays out because it is time for the film to end. Director Neil Burger should have cut all the meandering junk in the middle of the film and brought the final scenario in sooner so that the viewer could watch Eddie’s plan unfold.

The acting is fine. It is what you would expect from the big players; some are good and some are somewhat less so. The computer graphics make it fun and exciting, but for the most part are used only at the beginning of the film. The cinematography is complementary to the ride that Eddie experiences.

“Limitless” is a great idea and it is still worth seeing. If only they had the chance to go back, rewrite the script, reshoot and redistribute.

“Limitless” shows daily at Ashland Street Cinema, 1644 Ashland Street, (541) 488-4040.

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