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Limitless (2011)

Is it just me or is it getting harder to find decent movies that are under 2 hours long these days?

I was working lates again last week and I quite often watch a film when I get home from work around midnight. Obviously anything by Scorsese is off the cards, as are most of the movies on my “Films I should’ve seen by now but haven’t” list since they’re mostly lengthy dramas.

The other night I got tired of scrolling and decided to watch a film I’ve been itching to watch again for ages!

Limitless (2011)

I know I bang on a lot about how they don’t make decent films anymore but this is one of the best and most original movies I’ve seen in “semi-recent” years.

If you somehow haven’t seen it, it’s a brilliant sci-fi/thriller directed by Neil Burger (The Illusionist) that stars Bradley Cooper (Silver Linings Playbook), Robert De Niro (Cape Fear), Abbie Cornish (Seven Psychopaths), Andrew Howard (Tenet) and Anna Friel (Land of the Lost) among others.

The film is based on the 2001 novel, “The Dark Fields” by Alan Glynn.

This is what it’s about according to the internet:

“Facing unemployment and his girlfriend's rejection, writer Eddie Morra (Cooper) is sure that he has no future. That all changes when an old friend gives him a drug that produces enhanced mental acuity. Stoked on the untested chemical, Eddie rises to the top of the financial world and attracts the attention of a tycoon (De Niro) who intends to use him to make a fortune. But terrible side-effects and a dwindling supply threaten to collapse Eddie's house of cards.”

I’ve wanted to do a post about this film for a while now, but as is the case with a lot of my posts, I like to have watched the film recently enough to have it clear in my mind so I can get into the nitty gritty.

I remember watching it for the first time years ago and thinking what a great idea it was!

This is gonna sound strange but I often think about how amazing the human body is (stay with me a minute). I don’t mean to get all philosophical but I find it absolutely mind blowing to think that from two people getting together and “doing the deed” a whole new person can be created, perfectly designed down to every tiny detail. It all happens with absolutely no help from us other than to just wait and let nature do it’s thing.

The brain alone is a total marvel - This weird spongy, grey, bumpy matter that controls every thing we do, what we think and what we feel.

It’s a cruel trick really that we can only access 20% of its power. It’s like having loads of money in the bank but only being allowed to draw out a small amount each day. Where’s the fun in that?!

This movie explores what would happen if there was a drug that, when taken could allow a person to access 100% of what their brain has to offer. The result? Remembering suppressed memories from our past, learning how to speak new languages or play musical instruments fluently and to a professional standard in days or even hours - instantly being able to understand things that would’ve before, made absolutely no sense at all. The possibilities are (pun intended)…limitless

All of these things and more are explored in the film as well as the problems that could come with wielding such power.

Bradley Cooper is excellent as always, as is Robert De Niro who is constantly surprising me with his versatility (I recently watched The Intern, but that’s a post for another time).

In fact there’s not a member of the cast I can fault.

The pace is quick (but not too quick) and the story moves along at a rate that doesn’t, at any point allow you to feel bored or feel like it’s dragging in any way. In fact every scene feels like it’s essential which is something you don’t get from a lot of movies these days.

Something I really like about the look of this film is how visually different it is depending on whether Bradley Cooper’s character, “Eddie” is on or off NZT-48 (the mind enhancing drug).

I don’t think I’d ever really noticed it before but when he’s off it the picture has a very green/greyed-out look, but when he takes it and it kicks in, so does the colour and the contrast of the film. It’s really effective and helps give the impression that he’s more alert and switched on.

The musical score by Scottish composer Paul Leonard-Morgan (who also did the music for Dredd) is also really interesting, and different to most other film scores I’ve heard. It definitely suits the tone of the film and kind of grabs your attention right from the start.

You might already be aware but this movie gave birth to a TV series of the same name which was promptly cancelled after just one series. I’ve never seen it personally but apparently it focussed on events set after the film. Bradley Cooper wasn't the main star but he featured in 4 of the 22 episodes returning as his character from the movie.

If you’ve seen it maybe you can let me know how it compares in the comments…?

This is a definite must-watch movie, especially if you’re a fan of sci-fi thrillers, and/or Bradley Cooper and/or Robert De Niro.

It’s a brilliant and highly original idea that, with a run time of just 1 hour 45 mins won’t take up too much of your evening (maybe even giving you time to stick something else on after…)

I’ve never been interested in drugs but I have to say, if NZT-48 was real and I could get my hands on some, I think I’d have to give it a whirl. Mind you, I’m not sure the world is ready for 100% of my brain. Just the 20% I’m allowed to use produces some strange sh#t.

Watch this film, it’s excellent!

Seen it? Let me know below.

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