Limitless by Neil Burger (2011)

I saw a great drawing depicting a film journalist sitting down at his computer to write down a review having watched “Limitless”. He just sits there. In all three pics of the comic.

I had the same problem. Here is why.

The film touches upon the creative inability/writer’s block. Initially this sets off as a story of a sad person who cannot cope with his life, is being dumped by his girlfriend and unable to produce a sensible few pages of the novel he already signed a contract for. When he is at the bottom and cannot really get any lower, he bumps into an old acquaintance in the street. There goes the breakthrough. Former brother-in-law buys our writer a drink and drops in a freebie – a pill of a supposedly licensed drug enhancing human brains.

Only the drug isn’t licensed. And the supplier gets shot the next day. And … it really works.

What sets off for Eddie Morra is a journey on the rollercoaster as he finds a fair amount stuck in Vernon’s flat. He finishes his book in no time (and it’s good), takes control over his life, and basically as long as he remembers to eat and stays away from alcohol, he is invincible.

The downsides? Well – the limited amount of the magic drug for one thing, another is definitely that once the Russian mafia finds out about it, Eddie’s in danger.

Overall impression? I want that drug! Don’t we all? Imagine, you can sit down at your computer and produce whatever you wanted to produce and it’s good. Or you can learn easily how the stock markets work and make money that way. Or you can get into politics and become the US president. You can learn as many languages as you want in no time… It is mentioned at the beginning of the film that this drug works better on smart people. Is that a drop of irony? Is that a wink at the audience strengthened by the final few scenes when Eddie openly states he no longer uses the drug? My understanding of the overall message is that if you really know what you want and focus on that, you can do miracles, hence why it works on smart people. It’s not the pill that we need, just confidence and belief in our own strengths.

I like films with a moral. And I really liked this one.

I will watch it again and again – every time I feel I am unable to move on with something I want to be reminded it is all in my head. And once I realise that, all I need to do is get my stuff together and act.

Great performance by Bradley Cooper, fantastic supporting role of Robert de Niro.

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Filed under 2011 cinema releases, Catching Up, film reviews

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