Film, Drama
Do you like to leave the cinema feeling like someone’s been slagging you off from the back row? Then ‘Limitless’ could be for you. It’s a colourful, brutally nihilistic takedown of all the things most of us hold sacred (love, art, religion, politics) and some of the things we don’t (pharmaceuticals, economics and those who work in pharmaceuticals and economics). Bradley Cooper excels as Eddie Morra, an obsessive character with a million-dollar smile who we meet as an under-motivated New York author and leave as a politician running for high office. In the interim, we chart his addiction to a clear, shirt-button-like pill that harnesses the full power of the brain, turning him from a greasy schlub into a chiselled, all-conquering super-brain. But at what price?

If you think this sounds too ‘Twilight Zone’, then you’re in for a surprise, as ‘Limitless’, based on Alan Glynn’s 2001 novel ‘The Dark Fields’, feels no need for wanton moralising. Instead it bludgeons its victims one by one and leaves a trail of beautiful corpses in its wake. It’s scatty and fast paced, and director Neil Burger employs some Gaspar Noé-style, bad-trip CG effects to heighten the mood. But the main reason the film is so successful and distinctive is that its satire pulls no punches: corporate tycoons are corrupt, unfeeling bastards, but will they really get their comeuppance? And rampant self-medicating of untested drugs can prompt paranoid, murderous urges, but at the end of the day, is that really such a bad thing for society?

By: David Jenkins


Release details

Rated: 15
Release date: Wednesday March 23 2011
Duration: 105 mins

Cast and crew

Director: Neil Burger
Cast: Bradley Cooper
Robert De Niro
Anna Friel
Abbie Cornish

Average User Rating

3.3 / 5

Rating Breakdown

  • 5 star:3
  • 4 star:8
  • 3 star:7
  • 2 star:2
  • 1 star:0
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Really enjoyed this film. I took it at face value (i.e. - as enjoyable and entertaining..and far fetched) and would give it full marks for being exciting, fast paced and good story line.

Really enjoyed this film. I took it at face value (i.e. - as enjoyable and entertaining..and far fetched) and would give it full marks for being exciting, fast paced and good story line.

Limitless left me with lots of questions. If i took NZT what would I use that power to do. I think we can all be niave and say save people, cure disease etc but I think we may if honest be like Eddie and want to impresss people, show off and maybe make some poor decsions. The lure of money sex and admirations would prove difficult to turn down. I thought the effects used to demonstarte how Eddie brain felt whilst taking NZT were brilliant. There are some flaws but overall I enjoyed the movie and came out thinking about how we as humans use the 20% of brain we have in the wrong way at times so imagine if we had access to more?

Quirky, fast-paced drama which never takes its self too seriously. As some others have pointed out, the script doesn`t always stand up to scrutiny; nevertheless this is above average entertainment.

As someone with a notoriously short attention span, I really enjoyed this film, although I'm not sure if it merits the somewhat clumsy attempts at in-depth analysis. What happened to the book? It got forgotten, and I think that's the point. Maybe it's a comment by the writer on the consumerisation of the university system? Ooops, now I'm at it... Enjoy the film, but try not to take it so seriously :)

Great film! I left the cinema feeling like I can change the world - it's popcorn, but it's a hell of a lot brighter and inspiring than most. I thought it had a touch of Fight Club about it and, although it's not quite as that it is just as enjoyable. Loved it.

Richard: Not sure I agree with you. I think there are large holes in the storylines in this film. The Eddie Morra character wasn't a modest man. He had no problem in showing the world just how brilliant he was. Given he also had political aspirations - hence why at the end of the film he plans to run for senator - it's odd that the book he originally struggles with is no longer flaunted/publicised to increase the public's knowledge of him, and other books not published to prove just why he should be senator and not another person. On the whole it’s a pretty flawed story - it doesn't live up to the trailer. That whole loan shark storyline was probably the worst: Firstly, where would a desperate loan shark get $100k from?; secondly why would that loan shark lend the $100k to Morra whom he barely knew, when Morra had no job, no apartment of his own, and was generally completely down on his luck. Likewise, when Morra strikes lucky, how come with this “super intelligence� he didn’t think to pay off the loan shark with the $2m he came into from share dealing knowing there’d otherwise be ramifications. Nah, this film doesn’t stand up to scrutiny.

Marcia says: What happened to the book? The book becomes superfluous when he realizes just how much he can do with his new super intelligence. It is a popcorn movie but very entertaining.

Enjoyable but it's a little too long and the material with the on-off girlfriend story gets repetitious. The premise is that a pill makes the Cooper character super-intelligent but the story itself depends on him retaining crutial quantities of blindness and stupidity. Quite good quality crap.

I’d be very wary of calling this anything other than a 2 star movie. Though the performances aren’t bad, the story’s patchy (what happened to “the book�?; what happened to his money when the book took off so well?; why no further sign of the book agent who would surely be pressing for further literary masterpieces?; why keep his stash all in one place given the impact should it go missing?; how did the thugs break into a watertight/high security apartment in under 2 minutes with such crude tools?; as others say below, why such as abrupt ending?; etc; etc.). Not bad, but in no way taxing – the story assumes you don’t like to tax your brain cells with unrealistic detail. Lightweight. Very much a popcorn movie. Newspapers have given this a 3 star review - that’s bit generous.

An enjoyable popcorn movie, it’s certainly not high brow, but it is an entertaining way to spend 105 minutes. …Bizarre to see Anna Friel in it.

Interesting premise - well executed movie. Good to see Anna Friel au naturelle! And RDN does his trademark smile - made me laugh. Ends a little abruptly, but a fun ride.

Great film - from start to finish! Visually stunning, fast moving and very entertaining. I agree with the T/O review and 4 stars.

Great direction, good fun, sardonic, non-moralising - I'd recommend it. Maybe not if you're a 14 yr old boy who likes car chases - there's action, murders etc but that's not the real point of this movie. For once the TO critic review is accurate.

This an excellent and entertaining movie and one of the best I've seen in awhile. The reviewer, Neil Burger, has this one correct. It has long been know that all human beings use only around 20% of their brain. Were any individual able to use the other 80%, their potential is limitless-particularly when every one else is using just 20%. In the plot our hero is given the oppportunity to try an experimental pill that allows him to use the other 80% of his brain. Naturally, such a pill would be desired by many people-inlcuding some really nasty ones and, of course, all pills have side effects plus power always corrupts. Since many people would want such a pill there is plenty of action and violence in this movie. Bradley Cooper is excellent in the main role and brings a certain humanizing lightness to the film. This is the best film that DeNiro has been in for some time and he's very good . The end of the film leaves you with a question-does he or doesn't he?-but allows each individual imagination to decide for themselves in a way that Hitchcock would have liked. I liked Abbie Cornish as Bradley perhaps more sensible girlfriend and the personable Bradley Cooper gets better with every movie. I saw the film on a pleasant afternoon but it was pretty full and no one left and no one talked-until they left and then they were talking about the movie. One word of caution: the director-who does an excellent job-utilizes some pretty fast moving camera techniques when moving say down a street. I could see where this kind of visual imagery might cause some people visual and therefore intellectual distress.

Hmmmm … the marketing for this film’s great but, like the effects of the little clear pill, when you see the movie after a while you’re left wanting something more. There are a few flaws in the storyline, and in places it’s very predictable. But on the whole, it’s not a bad movie – certainly the story concept’s good. It won’t win awards, and you probably won’t want to see it a second time. 2 stars.

Through artless direction and painfully thin characterisation this film transforms an interesting plot premise into a particularly objectionable way to spend an afternoon. I can't believe that Time Out lead me to waste an hour and a half on this limp piece of Hollywood pap.

This was thoroughly enjoyable, superbly directed and great performances by all. Highly recommended!