1293. Limitless (2011)

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7.3 Sleek, but a little stagnant
  • Acting 7.1
  • Directing 7.6
  • Story 7.1
  • User Ratings (0 Votes) 0

Starring: Bradley Cooper, Robert De Niro, Abbie Cornish

Director: Neil Burger

Running Time: 104 mins


Limitless is an American film about a frustrated writer who comes across a pill that gives him unlimited capabilities, which brings him to immense success, but also puts him in great danger.

This is a pretty cool thriller, with a sleek and confident look thanks to some great directing by Neil Burger. It’s got brains too, and develops into a much darker drama than any of the sci-fi premise would have you believe at first, but I was never really engrossed by its story. It’s fun and cool, but I left this film unsatisfied with what I got, thinking that it needed far more character focus to be really good.

That said, there’s a lot to like about Limitless, and, as I just said, Neil Burger’s direction is the best of all. Right from the first scene, Limitless is full of sweeping camera shots that inject a really swift atmosphere into the film, as well as some breathtaking special effects that, although few and far between, really make the feelings of the lead character known as he begins to experience the worse side of this amazing pill.

Although I wasn’t so impressed with the plot of this film in the end, I do have to praise the direction that it took in its second act. In comparison to a very similar film, Lucy (which I didn’t like at all), which went too far into preposterous sci-fi territory, Limitless has a very intelligent take on this super-pill, and begins presenting a very clear and powerful anti-drugs message. Although it doesn’t quite endure into the final act, the second act here is by far the most impressive and interesting for that reason.

In terms of the performances, they’re fine. Bradley Cooper is pretty good in the lead role, and does well with a somewhat uncharacteristically physical performance. Apart from Cooper, however, there’s not much to see, as despite the presence of top actors like Robert De Niro, Anna Friel and Abbie Cornish, we never get any real insight into many of the secondary characters.

The biggest issue that I have with Limitless is the fact that it’s generally not that powerful or emotional. It’s all well and good having a fun thriller, and that’s why I ultimately enjoyed this film, but it was really missing that second level where we gain a real emotional connection with the lead character. In a story that shows a man going through hell and back, you should feel tired and impacted by what’s happening, but I just didn’t feel that from this film.

Overall, Limitless is fine. It’s enjoyable, wonderfully directed and has an interesting message in its second act. However, it often feels a little bland and shallow, and doesn’t quite reach the level of a truly engrossing thriller, and that’s why I’m giving this a 7.3.

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About Author

The Mad Movie Man, AKA Anthony Cullen, writes articles and reviews about movies and the world of cinema. Since January 1st, 2013, he has watched and reviewed a movie every day. This is the blog dedicated to the project: www.madmovieman.com