Have you ever felt like life is giving you lemons? I know, personally, that I sometimes struggle with this notion. My perceived talents do not necessarily translate into productive contributions in the world. Whether valid or not, I believe that I can learn anything. While such a belief more than likely illustrates self-deception, I believe that most people think this way. Truthfully, the “Lake Wobegon effect” is a psychologically proven hypothesis. Neil Burger’s Limitless delivers a concentrated injection of this sort of hopeful thinking.
A Limitless Drug
Centered on protagonist, Eddie Morra (Bradley Cooper), Limitless imagines what would happen if a drug allowed people to access 100% of their mind. An author caught in the throes of writer’s block, Eddie happens upon an old drug-dealing acquaintance. Having shared a woeful story of a lost girlfriend and an impending eviction, this drug-dealing friend charitably shares an off-the-market drug that will help Eddie see clearly.
Ingesting the tablet, Eddie’s life changes immediately. He’s driven to finish the novel; he becomes the life of the party. Needing more of the drug, Eddie seeks out his acquaintance. Finding the drug-dealer’s apartment ransacked and the dealer executed, Eddie freaks out. Quickly searching for the stash of pills, he calls the police and flees.
With an extensive stash of this clarifying drug, Eddie begins life anew. He quickly learns how to beat the stock market and begins earning copious amounts of cash. But, the drug carries a dangerous side effect. Without constant consumption, the user will become ill and might even die.
Eddie, then, faces a dwindling supply of the drug and life threatening consequences.
Stark Visuals, Banal Dialogue
Aesthetically, Neil Burger utilizes filters to differentiate between on-the-drug Eddie and off-the-drug Eddie. On-the-drug Eddie is depicted in vibrant colors; off-the-drug Eddie functions in a muted, almost greyscale setting. Visually, the viewer ascertains that heightening qualities of the drug through the stark contrasts in colors. Likewise, the off-the-drug scenes convey the mundane and gloomy existence of an under-utilized brain.
From a dialogue perspective, Limitless underperforms. With countless scenes operating under the assumption that the protagonist carries vastly superior knowledge of every scenario, the dialogue feels insincere, as if the writers feel like they can get away with using big words without truly conveying the depth of ideas.
Intuitively speaking, Limitless draws on our desire to expand our repertoire. We all feel like if only we had a chance, our lives would become much better. If such scenarios refuse to happen in real life, Limitless offers an intriguing escape. Despite some poor dialogue, the visuals coupled with the concept provide fodder for an entertaining movie. Recommended.
Verdict: 4 out of 5
Posted by: Donovan Richards