Tuesday, April 12, 2011

LIMITLESS - Takes Cooper From 'A-Team' to A-List

LIMITLESS (suspense thriller)
Cast: Bradley Cooper, Abbie Cornish, Robert De Niro, Andrew Howard, Anna Friel, Johnny Whitworth and Robert John Burke
Director: Neil Burger
Screenplay: Alan Glynn, Leslie Dixon
Time: 105 mins
Rating: * * * (out of 4)

De Niro and Cooper in LIMITLESS
PREAMBLE: It is a popular contention that most humans use less than 20 per cent of their brain power. Now, how's this for wishful thinking: what if there's a pill that would put the human brain in overdrive, functioning at 100 per cent of its capability? Wouldn't that change society as we know it? Like, imagine the class idiot suddenly becoming a genius!

THE SKINNY: Well, that drug is known as NZT-48 in this movie about Eddie Morra (Bradley Cooper), an unsuccessful New York writer who is given the sample pill by his ex-brother-in-law (Johnny Whitworth as Vernon) to fend off his bout of writer's block. Of course, Eddie is at first reluctant to take the pill. However, he has not written a single sentence in months and every body, including his girlfriend Lindy (Abbie Cornish, below) and landlord, is breathing down his neck.

After popping the clear, transparent pill, Eddie finds his life altered, not just in terms of increased intelligence but also in terms of physical activity and motivation. He manages to complete his book, starts making money from smart investments and is even being offered a high-profile job with business mogul Carl Van Loon (Robert De Niro). And of course, the drug has some nasty side effects - and some vicious people are also trying to get their hands on it.

HITS AND MISSES: There are numerous holes in the plot (by Leslie Dixon, based on the novel The Dark Fields by Alan Glynn) but if we can accept the conceit of a 'magic pill' that changes a drunken loser into a high-flying wheeler-dealer, then we should 'limit' our mental faculties a bit more and overlook the contrivances and inconsistencies that Dixon throws at us. Indeed, director Neil Burger even allows the movie to degenerate into a run-of-the-mill action thriller with shoot-outs and fist fights - just to please action fans.

Still, there are many good things going for the movie, the top of which is the cool and collected performance of Cooper. This outing should see Cooper moving from The A-Team to the A-List. Cooper is funny, sexy and charming and here, he holds his own as lead star against a 'legend' like De Niro. Cornish supports effectively in a rather undemanding role while Anna Friel manages to look frightful as Eddie's ex-wife.

THE LOWDOWN: Entertaining but in a rather limited way.


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