In Memoriam 1942 – 2013 “Roger Ebert loved movies.”

RogerEbert.com

Thumb_mv5bmtq1mze4mte3of5bml5banbnxkftztgwotcyndm3nte_._v1__sx1216_sy640_

Amy

Sometimes, it feels as if we are eavesdropping on day-to-day conversations rather than just hearing the usual litany of platitudes and regrets.

Thumb_large_nxcfdsanskih09xq74fjnyhw4g0

Stray Dog

"Stray Dog" largely succeeds because Granik's technique complements her subject. Both he and the film are modest in their goals and cherish the value of…

Other Reviews
Review Archives
Thumb_xbepftvyieurxopaxyzgtgtkwgw

Ballad of Narayama

"The Ballad of Narayama" is a Japanese film of great beauty and elegant artifice, telling a story of startling cruelty. What a space it opens…

Thumb_jrluxpegcv11ostmz1fqha1bkxq

Monsieur Hire

Patrice Leconte's "Monsieur Hire" is a tragedy about loneliness and erotomania, told about two solitary people who have nothing else in common. It involves a…

Other Reviews
Great Movie Archives
Other Articles
Channel Archives

Reviews

Limitless

Limitless Movie Review
  |  

I know how Eddie Morra feels. Like him, I know almost everything, but have forgotten most of it. We are told time and again that we use only a small portion of our brains and have enough left over to run nations in our down time. “Limitless” is about Eddie’s adventures after his ex-brother-in-law gives him a pill that suddenly puts his entire brain online.

He finishes his novel at typing speed. He wins at poker, invests in the market, and runs it up to millions. He fascinates a woman who had rejected him as a loser. He knows intuitively how to handle situations that used to baffle him. He is hailed as the Wall Street guru of the age.

Eddie is played by Bradley Cooper as a schlep who becomes a king. This sort of mental rags-to-riches progression has inspired a lot of movies; ever see Cliff Robertson in “Charly” (1968)? The difference here is that Eddie Mora remains himself before and after, and all that changes is his ability to recall everything he ever saw or heard. “Limitless” assumes that would be a benefit and make him rich, but what if most of what he ever saw or heard about Wall Street was wrong (as it usually is)?

The movie sidesteps the problem that what we need is more intelligence and a better ability to reason, not a better memory. For memory, modern man has Google. There’s no need to stumble over such technicalities, however; given its premise “Limitless” is passably entertaining. Abbie Cornish plays Lindy, the successful young professional woman who dumps Eddie as a loser and falls for him all over again when he becomes a winner. This is not sneaky on her part; there is every reason to dump the original Eddie and many good ones to return.

Eddie grows entangled in three problems. One has to do with the source of the magic pills; the brother-in-law is no longer in a position to reveal it. The second has to do with a mob loan shark who liked being smart and wants to get that way again.

The third involves Carl Van Loon, played by Robert De Niro as one of the richest men in America. He hires Eddie as an investment magician, Eddie loses his touch when he runs out of pills, he regains it, and so on. De Niro is not well used in the role, because he plays Van Loon straight and in one dimension. Don’t you suppose he could have been supplied with a quirk of his own? The twist at the end comes too late.

Bradley Cooper fits well into the two versions of Eddie Morra, and director Neil Burger does inventive visual effects in showing how time telescopes for Eddie and the answers to problems seem to materialize before his eyes. A subplot about a murder, however, raises questions it doesn’t answer, and all the quasi-criminal stuff seems a little perfunctory. The movie is not terrifically good, but the premise is intriguing; it doesn’t really set out to explore what such a pill might really to do a person. “Limitless” only uses 15, maybe 20 percent of its brain. Still, that’s more than a lot of movies do.

Popular Blog Posts

Why Can't Sad Be Fat?

A rebuttal to Joni Edelman's piece on "Inside Out."

Sex Symbol Without Auteur: The Strange Case of the Gina Lollobrigida Filmography

Three films starring Gina Lollobrigida have been released on Blu-ray; Glenn Kenny looks at them and her entire career.

“Scream” and “Zoo” Seek to Raise the Summer TV Body Count

MTV's Scream and CBS's Zoo premiere tonight. One is worth your time. Which one?

The Unloved, Part 19: "The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford"

The July 2015 edition of The Unloved looks at Andrew Dominik's "The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert...

Reveal Comments
comments powered by Disqus