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The Sky Isn't the Limit| Leisure by Arnold Leibrandt
New enhancement drug takes the world by storm
Limitless (2011) is an action thriller starring Bradley Cooper and Robert De Niro.
The film follows the life of down and out writer Eddie Morra (Bradley Cooper) whose writerís block throws his life into disarray. He has a book due in three days that he hasnít started, heís taken up drinking as a new hobby, his girlfriend has just broken up with him and his rent is overdue.
And just when you think things couldnít get any worse, while Eddie is prowling the streets for another pub to go to he bumps into the annoying brother of his ex wife, Vernon.
Eddie never had much respect for Vernon, mainly due to the fact that Vernon isnít a very nice guy and also a former drug dealer.
Vernon offers to buy Eddie a drink at a nearby pub to catch up on old times, and when Vernon finds out about Eddieís hardship, not to mention seeing how it is affecting the manís appearance, Vernon offers Eddie a new experimental drug which he claims to be ďperfectly legalĒ.
The drug is called NZT-48, and is supposedly able to allow humans to access the full 100% of their brainpower as apposed to the usual 20%. Eddie is skeptical about this drug but having nothing to lose and a book deadline in three days for a book he hasnít yet started, he decides to give it a try.
Within no time Eddie has a new outlook on life and feels in the best frame of mind he has ever been in. He is not certain if itís the drug or not, but when his landlordís wife starts hounding him for his rent and he is able to not only convince her that the money is on its way but also help her finish her assignment for law school and sleep with her, Eddie knows the drug is for real.
That night Eddie is able to finish the first four chapters of his novel and hands it in to his agent the next day.
When his agent finishes reading what Eddie has given her, she is instantly amazed and canít wait for the rest of his novel. Only problem is the effects of the drug have worn off and Eddie is back to his usual no-good self.
Eddie then does the next logical thing and goes to Vernonís apartment to ask for more drugs, but he finds Vernon shot dead in his home with the whole place ransacked. It is obvious what the killers were looking for, but the question is: Did they find it?
Eddie quickly searches the apartment and luckily finds Vernonís untouched stash, before calling the murder in to the New York police department.
He then heads home and you guessed it, takes more drugs. Instantly Eddie is rejuvenated and feels like a new man ready to take on the world. He finishes his novel in one night, reinvents himself with a new haircut and wardrobe and gets back together with his girlfriend. He starts learning new languages with ease and takes to the stock market.
Eddie borrows capital from the Russian mafia to start his new venture into the stock market and quickly becomes extremely rich.
Eddie is then approached by the extreme businessman Carl Van Loon (Academy Award winner Robert De Niro) and is offered the job of a lifetime.
And then, just when everything seems to be going right for Eddie for a change, he starts feeling negative side effects from the NZT drug, with memory loss being one of them.
Eddie then tries to quit the drug cold turkey but this makes him incredibly sick and causes him to suffer severe withdrawal symptoms. He then decides to do some research on the drug and finds out that everyone who has been on NZT has died.
Now Eddie is about to lose his dream job, heís being pursued by not only the Russian mafia but also a strange man in a tan jacket, the drug is making him extremely sick and the police are investigating him for a murder that he might have committed.
You would expect someone with 100% brainpower to have no problems in life whatsoever, but Eddie is now in some extreme life and death situations.
Limitless is based on the 2001 novel The Dark Fields by Alan Glynn. The script was thrown around between many different production companies before it was finally picked up by Virgin productions.
Shia LaBeouf was set to play the filmís lead but was replaced by Cooper. Cooper also just happens to be one of the films executive producers, whether this is coincidence or not you be the judge.
The film also brings into question the brainpower myth that says that humans only use 20% of their brainpower. However, scientistsí opinions on this theory are mixed.
The film had a good opening weekend as it placed number one on the box office for that weekend. The film also managed to pull a considerably good profit turnover for its run on the circuit.
The film received many good reviews with much praise going to the director and the performance of Cooper; however, the script was considered questionable by most.
Personally I found the film extremely entertaining and itís fast paced editing and directing only compliments the intensity of the storyline. There are a few holes in the storyline but none to really complain about.
On a negative note though, the filmís introduction seems rather overdone. Its fast paced style of a camera flying through New York City with credits flying at your face randomly seems like it might induce epileptic fits for those paying attention to it. Although if you manage to pass this minor set back the film is actually quite good, and luckily so because it has a longer than usual running time and if it was unable to keep audiences engaged for this time it would have flopped without question.
Cooper and De Niro both give stellar performances.
This best selling point of this film would have to be its premise, but also how it and the performances compliment each other, because while you are watching this film it allows you to feel as if what is happening in the movie is actually possible in the real world. This effect that movies have on people has lately been taken for granted in big budget films and is usually only present in action films or sports and underdog films, so to see it in a thriller is a breath of fresh air for the movie business.
Starring: Bradley Cooper, Robert De Niro
Directed By: Neil Burger
Rating: 4 out of 5