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Limitless

Limitless is one of the first films offering Bradley Cooper a leading role.  Gaining early fame in the hit TV series Alias among others, his charms seem a natural fit as a cinematic light leading man.  Reasonably using his skills it affords him the opportunity to darken his image a little in a tale of deception and unfettered greed.
 

Unemployed writer Eddie (Bradley Cooper) accepts a friend’s invitation in trying a new experimental drug.  Discovering his intellect dramatically increases after taking it, he becomes wiz in the financial world.  An overnight success, his actions capture the attention of businessman Carl Van Loon (Robert De Niro).  Using Eddie for his own ends Carl’s needs mirror those of a cabal of hit-men, who are after Eddie for the drug.  On the run and in fear of his life, Eddie’s dream-life soon becomes an unrelenting nightmare.
 

Based on the book ‘Dark Fields’ by Alan Glynn, Limitless effectively adds another wrinkle to the thriller genre.  Which is a remarkable feat given the plot’s reliance on delving inside its hero’s mind.  Why it works is due to Neil Burger’s taut direction and visual flair as he utilizes its potential to its maximum.  His exploration into how a fully functioning mind can be used to one’s tactical advantage is finely wrapped into a mostly exciting chase formula.  Maintaining its energy until the end Cooper’s performance brings some genuine believability to the far-fetched thrills.
 

Although occasionally groaning under the weight of its ideas, Limitless moves at a fairly quick pace.  Whilst there are traditional villains herein it’s interesting to note its ‘hero’ is the main person doing a dis-service to himself due to his addiction to the drug.  Even if this plot strand is hardly subtle it increases the threat level against him quite well.  It may not be rocket science but Limitless does the job in offering some thought provoking issues while moving events along in stirring fashion.
 

Bradley Cooper should afford himself a smile that his latest venture isn’t a waste of time.  Fast moving and exciting, it should take him up further along the scale of movie stardom.
 

Rating out of 10:  7
 

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