Kind of the opposite of Alzheimer’s, Limitless is likewise a sci-fi version of an extreme drug deal gone bad, as various unsavory characters compete to snatch up an egghead performance enhancer capable of turning slackers into spontaneous geniuses. In other words, a futuristic designer drug not only fast forwarding all retention and recall brain matter as the euphoria of invincibility kicks in, but enabling access to any thought and memory that has ever entered those inner recesses throughout your life.
Bradley Cooper is Eddie, the dubious lucky guy in Limitless, which is adapted from the Alan Glynn novel, The Dark Fields. An aspiring novelist sulking away his life while plagued with writer’s block, and also recently dumped by girlfriend Lindy (Abbie Cornish), Eddie is turned on to a secret new high, NZT, by his ex-wife’s brother.
Soon Eddie’s books seem to be writing themselves and ‘words just appeared on paper,’ as his mind accelerates under the influence of this smart pill. While turning on, he also turns into an instant musical prodigy, and with a fluency in all languages. And Eddie eventually takes his intellectual assets to Wall Street, where highly impressed zillionaire Carl Van Loon (Robert De Niro) is intent on picking the nearly prophetic hustler’s exceptional brain, via a vicarious high.
But like all drugs, there’s a definite down side and more. And it’s not just about crashing and sliding into the opposite direction of a bad trip, with ADD kicking in when the stash is not around. Eddie needs to hook into a steady supply of NZT, while facing the reality of a limited and diminishing stockpile of the novelty product. Not to mention a ruthless posse of equally crazed aspiring druggies, itching to get a similar rush. And in a sort of homicidal version of an appeal to quit bogarting that joint.
Nearly as deliriously wired as that co-starring NZT, Limitless is a wild and zany ride, a futuristic hallucinatory thriller seamlessly and simultaneously negotiating trippy suspense, breathlessly dizzying visuals, unhinged emotions and heady humor. Director Neil Burger (The Illusionist, Interview with the Assassin) may or may not be dropping NZT, but he definitely has his finger on the pulse of perpetrating a vividly realized cinematic contact high on the big screen.