Thursday, August 18, 2011

New Release Movies: Limitless (2011)

Limitless is one of those movies that emerges from some dank, unknown place in Hollywood, congealing to form a shitty movie no-one really knows or cares about. I seem to recall it at the cinema not too long ago, and lo and behold a short time later it's now on DVD. All I knew about it from seeing a trailer (on TV? I don't know, somewhere) is that Bradley Cooper is taking some drugs that open his mind, and he is on Wall Street and Robert de Niro seems to be the bad guy. Well the trailer was misleading.

The film is indeed about Bradley Cooper taking drugs. It starts with a scene from later in the movie, that ultimately proves to be an incredibly pointless scene to arrive at. So at the real start of the film, he is a down and out writer with severe writer's block. He comes across this drug NZT, that lets you use 100% of your brain rather than the 20% we currently do. This allows him to learn languages in like 40 minutes and learn how to play piano in a day. Then some shenanigans happen, but even shenanigans is probably sounding too exciting. "A thing or two happens" might be more apt.

Doin' stuff on drugs.
As you may have guessed from the above, there's not a whole lot going on in the movie. Bradley Cooper takes drugs, and they are AWESOME. This is seriously a pro-drugs movie if ever I've seen one. I wouldn't have a problem with that if it was a good film with a bit of subtlety. This, she ain't subtle. The first 45 or so minutes (of a 90 minute film) are pretty much about how Bradley Cooper is chowing into heaps of NZT and all this awesome shit is happening to him. So there's not really any story, just drug use.

Drugs are awesome!
Of course, not everything is all rosy and awesome drugs. The drugs are great, but it also has side effects. It turns out it kind of kills you a bit sometimes. It also makes you have black outs, but during these blackouts you go to parties, drink booze, hook up with random chicks. Some guys are also after the drugs so that's another bad thing right? To be honest, I can't really even remember who the bad guys are. There's a loan shark and some Wall Street guy's lackeys you see for 2 minutes.

Drugs are sometimes bad but also they can be good.
Oh yeah, Robert de Niro is in it too. He may as well not be. His character is so redundant and tacked on. He's not a bad guy, he's not a good guy. Just in the Wall Street segment he is there for a bit. Probably in the movie for about 15 minutes total. But hey, Robert de Niro!

"30% of the budget went on 15 minutes of me."
The film is replete with plot-holes, including the drug itself, which is one giant plot-hole. I told you about how it can be bad and has side-effects right? Well it turns out that earlier in the movie Bradley Cooper was taking it wrong. If you take it only once a day and eat lots and don't drink booze you're fine! Wow, sign me up!

I should give the film some credit. I suppose it is well acted enough but it is hard to take seriously. It looks pretty good, and uses some funky effects. The transition of the world as being drab and grey pre-drugs to bright and yellow post-drugs is neat. It also uses a fish eye lens to give you the sense that you can "see more." They look good...the first time. The trouble is they flog them to the shithouse, and rather than being an interesting way of showing you the effects of the drug, it rubs your face in it like a bad owner rubs a cat's face in its own piss. That's right people, we are the cat. And we have been punished.

Unfortunately, Limitless is one of those "cool idea" movies that goes nowhere beyond being a cool idea. It joins the pantheon of 'shitty forgettable films with a cool idea,' joining the likes of Unknown, Equilibrium, and Reign of Fire. I give Limitless 4 "Woo drugs!" out of 10.

1 comment:

  1. Yep, just about how I felt about it too. The second half of the movie was craptastic. Blink and you miss De Niro.