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The Independent Critic

STARRING
Bradley Cooper, Robert DeNiro, Abbie Cornish, Anna Friel
DIRECTED BY
Neil Burger
SCREENPLAY
Leslie Dixon, Alan Glynn (Novel)
MPAA RATING
PG-13
RUNNING TIME
105 Mins.
DISTRIBUTED BY
Relativity Media
DVD EXTRAS
Theatrical Feature;
Unrated Extended Cut;
Audio Commentary with Director Neil Burger;
A Man Without Limits;
Alternate Ending;
Theatrical Trailer
 "Limitless" Review 
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Limitless, starring an increasingly adventurous and cinematically diversified Bradley Cooper, is a rarity - a novelty that works because cast and crew alike are so completely on the same page that the film's cohesiveness and subject and style work together to create a flick that gels together despite almost unimaginable odds of failure.

Cooper is Eddie Morra, a writer with a serious case of writer's block and a project due for which he's already received an advance. His lover (Abbie Cornish) has dumped him, and Eddie's sinking rapidly when a former brother-in-law (Johnny Whitworth) introduces him to a black market pharmaceutical wonder drug that allows him to tape into his entire breadth of intelligence. Soon, Eddie has a best selling novel and knows what to do in virtually any situation, whether that's seducing hotties or, finally, gambling and counting cards.

Can you tell where this is going?

If you're familiar with Alan Glynn's novel upon which the film is based, then you'll entire the picture already having a darn good idea where this entire thing is going. Even if you haven't read Glynn's novel, the film's structure isn't exactly complex ... What it lacks in complexity, however, Limitless makes up for with irresistible fun and fantasy.

Limitless is part psychological fantasy and part cautionary tale about the dangers of too much, too soon as Eddie catches the eye of a not particularly well meaning Wall Street kingpin (Robert DeNiro). This is DeNiro, only a rung or two down on the Gordon Gekko ladder of greed, so we can be damn near sure that Eddie's in for a rather bumpy ride.

Limitless is directed by Neil Burger (The Illusionist), who gives the film a full-on sensory experience that is a blast to behold even if it's not a particularly lasting blast and will likely leave your cognition not long after you depart the theater.

Cooper is a blast here, proving once and for all that he is most assuredly leading man material and not just in The Hangover type material. Cooper's Eddie is downright intense and disturbing as he becomes increasingly embroiled in a world that seemingly seduces him as much as he seduces it. Cooper makes Eddie just believable enough that even as his world becomes freakin' unbelievable Eddie himself holds this pic down. In addition to Cooper's fine perf, DeNiro nails it as a guy who is such a kingpin he doesn't really need to prove he's a kingpin...you just fuckin' know it. Abbie Cornish does a nice job as Lindy, the woman who initially dumps Eddie then can't believe his metamorphosis.

The camera work of Jo Willems is amazing, at times as fractured as Eddie's psyche' and other times a swooping, majestic view of the human experience and New York City all in one. Tech credits are rock solid across the board, giving Limitless internal and external scenery that is seamless and mesmerizing.

With The Hangover 2 right around the corner for Bradley Cooper, 2011 may very well prove to be the year that sends the actor well into the cinematic stratosphere. While you may not necessarily have crystal clear memories of Limitless after you leave the theater, hangover may very well say it all.

© Written by Richard Propes
The Independent Critic
    The Official Rating Guideline
    • A+ to A: 4 Stars                
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    • B- to C+: 2.5 Stars           
    • C: 2 Stars
    • C- to D+: 1.5 Stars
    • D: 1 Star
    • D-: .5 Star
    • F: Zero Stars

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