Film Review – Limitless

31 March 2011

Written by: Radhika Chopra

Ever wondered just how far you can push yourself mentally? According to the age-old myth, we only use 10% of our grey matter, but these claims don’t seem to carry any evidence. Enter Limitless, a new film directed by Neil Burger that takes a drug-induced look at the ‘what if’ of human potential.

Introduced to us in a peculiar way is our lead character Eddie Morra, played by party boy Bradley Cooper from The Hangover. From the edge of a building, Morra states that he ‘will never let them touch [him]’, and just before you get to see his grizzly end, the film dives into a nervous system of taxis and streets in the heart of New York City. It is here, in the Big Apple, that Morra’s rag-to-riches story begins. Starting as a no-talent novelist, he takes on Wall Street and becomes a high profile businessman. He does this with the help of a top secret drug that unlocks some unusual cognitive abilities. However, Morra quickly finds that no man can get far without making a few enemies along the way.

Cooper’s role as Morra allows the viewer to see a little more of his serious side, rather than just being the cheeky guy or the womanising ex-boyfriend (see Wedding Crashers). In a thrilling performance he shows his character’s excitement and desperation for greater things as he becomes a slave to the drug that allows him access to an infinite mental capability. He exudes confidence whenever he is intoxicated, which greatly contrasts with his downtimes where he shows a brief vulnerability and paranoia. Cooper manages to find a good acting balance between his character’s assurance and his struggles with the realities of a drug addiction.

Limitless has been shot in a unique way. There are vignetted memories of Morra’s past love, showing a softer side to an unstable individual. There is also a beautiful darkening and lightening of the film depending on Morra’s frame of mind. The cinematography is bathed in blue-green hues and it is remarkable seeing the image of Cooper sharpen as his character enters his drug-induced mentality. Burger also succeeds at being innovative with his action shots, bringing a sense of surrealism into the character’s views.

Limitless has the same mind-boggling effect as Inception. Although it’s a tad long, it’s interesting watching the events unfold, and Morra’s journey of the mind makes you wonder how far you would go to achieve success.

Radhika Chopra is a final year Bachelor of Journalism student at La Trobe University and is a member of the upstart editorial team.