Saturday, September 24, 2011

Cooper has no Limitations

      Bradley Cooper takes a bunch of narcotics and does some crazy things in this 2011 film. No, I'm not talking about his reprising role in the latest Hangover sequel. This performance is actually worth watching.
     Cooper stars in Limitless as Eddie Morra, a down-on-his-luck author with some serious writer's block, hoping to write the novel that will catch him his big break. Eddie looks tired, jaded, even homeless--at one point he points out how only people with a drug or alcohol problem look like him. Eddie's girlfriend Lindy, played by Abbie Cornish (Bright Star) takes notice and breaks up with him in a diner. But Eddie's destined trajectory soon changes, when he runs into his ex-brother-in-law Vernon (Johnny Whitworth) on the street and a couple of mid-afternoon drinks later, Eddie walks home with a small, clear pill in his pocket.
     He knows it's probably not a good idea, but what the hell, he has nothing to loose anymore. Thirty seconds is all he needs for it to kick in and the affects are eminent once they do. Everything starts to look bright, clear and focused. Even Eddie's demeanor changes, he no longer wears a facade of pretending to be something he's not, he owns his new-found confidence and wears it well.
     The pill, according to Vernon, allows the person who takes it to access receptors in the brain and use it to it's full potential. And this is evident from Eddie's experience. He teaches himself to play piano in three days, learns to speak fluent languages by listening to tape-recordings, makes some pocket-money by investing in stocks, wins back Lindy, even finishes that book in a few days.
     But not everything looks bright for Eddie's future. When Vernon is murdered in his apartment, Eddie makes off with his stash of pills (the effects only last for a day), which sustains him for most of the movie. I say most, because he eventually runs out. But that's the entertaining aspect of the film, seeing how Cooper's character will outsmart his way out of every situation. Add a few taxi-chases, angry drug-dealers, and one power-hungry boss (Robert DeNiro) and you have a cocktail that's sure to be a good time.
     Neil Burger (The Illusionist) directs this action-packed, adrenaline-rush of a movie with full force on the pedal and a clear direction of where he wanted to go. And it goes pretty far, pretty fast. Burger teamed up with Leslie Dixon, who wrote the screenplay, based on Alan Glynn's novel "The Dark Fields." Dixon's screenplay is smart, considering it's genre and adds a bit of an edge with some witty dialogue towards the end. Jo Willems creates visual pleasure with his cinematography throughout the film. The dark hues and unsaturated visual style in the film is punctuated by incandescent colors when Eddie takes the pill, symbolizing his clear and bright mind. Willems draws attention to every detail, every tone, every color, every pigment of blue in Cooper's baby blues (*cough, cough* I'm just saying).
     It's not the greatest action movie you've ever seen, but it's also not your average action movie you see nowadays. It's smart, a bit stylish and fun to watch. And honestly, what more can you ask? Cooper maneuvers well in this fast-paced, action-thriller and manages playing both the average-Joe and business-man with too much bravado quite well. It's never pretentious or exhaustive to watch. In fact it's almost charming and you see glimpses of Cooper's true leading man quality come out in every scene. This is one action-movie that had everything planned out well.

Rating: B+


  1. It's definately a Thriller, but Action? There are literally 2 action scenes. Anyway, good review.

  2. Ha! You're right! I think the film was just so entertaining and the story was anything but dull that I interpreted that as action. Thanks for your comment Vits.