Eddie Morra, a character played by Bradley Cooper in his new film “Limitless,” is a starving writer with a losing streak in life. When offered an untested method for experiencing immediate success, Morra poses the question, “Worth the risk? What would you do?” He soon discovers that a mysterious clear pill becomes “a sparkling cocktail of useful information” that gives him more brainpower than he ever realized he had.
“Limitless” keeps viewers in suspense as Morra’s newfound fame and fortune foreshadow his inevitable downfall. What will happen when Morra runs out of his supply of limitless possibilities?
Director Neil Burger accepts the challenge of pushing the audience to imagine feeling the drug’s side effects, and he displays this drive in the cinematography in particular. As Morra struggles with the potentially harmful effects of the pill, the audience is taken along through the journey with him. The rapid fast forward motion creates a queasy feeling for the viewer, while the mirrored imagery gives the audience a hallucinogenic experience. Multiple exposure cinematography keeps the audience feeling the same sense of confusion Morra feels. Burger additionally tests moviegoers’ tolerance, even shooting a scene upside down.
Complimenting Burger’s attempt to immerse the audience into the world of “Limitless,” the first-person narrative of Eddie Morra in the film allows the viewer to delve into the character’s thoughts. The technique is comparable to reading Morra’s journal or getting inside his head; this allows the audience to form a personal connection with the main character. Viewers feel a vast assortment of emotions for Morra as they witness the rollercoaster ride that is his life.
The acting in the film seems to be somewhat average, with no major breakout roles. As a disheveled writer, Cooper plays the role decently. However, he seems to shine as the “pretty boy” he becomes; it seems to be a role he is comfortable with, evidenced by his roles as the big shot in such films as “The Hangover” and “Wedding Crashers.”
Robert De Niro joins the cast as Carl Van Loon, the shrewd executive of a Fortune 500 company. He also reverts to his typical role as a scheming tough guy, but has a relatively small role in the film in comparison to other actors. While not exactly a “bad guy,” De Niro sees little character development in his role.
Australian actress Abbie Cornish stars as Morra’s girlfriend, Lindy. She plays an average role, but rises to the occasion in one of the best action scenes of the film. Cornish’s fear is felt by the audience due to the strength of her acting.
“Limitless” seemed to captivate audiences across the nation this weekend, bringing in $6.6 million on Friday alone, according to the Internet Movie Database (IMDB). The reason behind its success may be its introduction of an attractive concept: gaining the ability to access 100 percent of a person’s brain at all times. While the movie claims humans can only access 20 percent of their brains, this myth is deceptive, as people use their entire brain (however, not necessarily all at the same time).
Despite the factual error in the film’s concept, the idea seems to have gotten people thinking that the possibilities for their own heads could be ‘limitless.’
Malea Ritz can be reached at [email protected]