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4 out of 5 stars
Time Out says
4 out of 5 stars
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?