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Limitless (9/10)

by Tony Medley

Run time 105 minutes.

OK for children.

I used to be a big baseball fan. In fact, Iím confident when I say there are few alive who know as much about the game as I. But, while lots of things cooled me on the game, a big factor was steroids and the mongoloid idiots who used them. They destroyed the hallowed records upon which the popularity of the game is based. The refusal of the Commissioner to take a principled stand condemned the game to an abdication of its history.

This film stands as a clear metaphor for those imbeciles. Instead of sports, itís business and politics. And instead of a chemical that enhances physical prowess, in this film itís a drug, NZT, a designer pharmaceutical that expands the use of the takerís brain to its fullest extent possible.

Eddie Mora (Bradley Cooper) is a blocked writer. He canít fill the blank page with words. His girlfriend, Lindy (Abbie Cornish), dumps him, as does his editor. Despondent, he runs into his ex brother-in-law, Vernon (Johnny Whitworth), who gives him a magic pill that allows him to access the power of his brain to the fullest extent. Suddenly he is amazingly aware, a font of knowledge, sort of like the way George Costanza (Jason Alexander) became in an episode of Seinfeld, entitled The Abstinence, which aired November 21, 1996. He knows everything and can digest the most complex writings in an instant. From there things take turns he couldnít have anticipated, including people trying to kill him and Lindy.

This is a fascinating thriller. Cooper gives a fine performance, seamlessly transgressing from a down-and-out guy who looks like a street person to a well-groomed budding Captain of Industry. Whitworth is equally compelling as the conniving Vernon. Cornish, always one of my favorites, failed in a vague way to come across the way she usually does, not one of her better performances. Robert De Niro seemed to confuse this role as a powerful entrepreneur with the many comedy roles heís been playing. His performance was little more than a caricature. Hoist on his own petard, from the look on his face I kept anticipating a laugh line.

Despite these failings, this is a fun movie that never lets up. Director Neil Burger keeps the pace going with constantly mounting tension, getting the most out of a fine script (Leslie Dixon) from a novel, The Dark Fields by Alan Glynn. It is enhanced by terrific special effects (Connie Brink), cinematography (Jo Willems), editing (Tracy Adams and Naomi Geraghty), and music (Paul Leonard-Morgan).

 

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