Sunday, January 01, 2012

1674 - Limitless

I've never read the source material for this, and while I like Bradley Cooper he isn't a draw for me to see a film - I really liked the idea of the premise and I wanted to see what was done with it. 
It's more or less the story of a charming slacker who is given a miracle drug that unlocks his potential and how he manages to keep going with it.  Neil Burger keeps the film going at a really strong clip and he's very clever in how he visually represents what the world is like on and off this drug.  And now I'm going to get into SPOILER material...

I'm not trying to say that films have to follow tried and true structures, but in stories like this usually the hero has to get what he wants at the end without the aid of his super powers, and for the most part that's not true here - it's a crutch from the beginning of the film and it never stops being one.  The film's end suggests that he's found a way to get off the drug and keep the effects, but because it's an epilogue that's jumped forward a year we have no way of knowing if this is true or of it's just Eddie's way of fucking with DeNiro's character as he tries to box him in.  There's something fun about not knowing, but it kind of makes you feel a bit cheated.  The other big problem with the film is that you're just never really given any reason to root for Eddie - he's a lovable loser, so there's that - and he mentions at one point knowing what he "has to do", but that he needs the money to make that happen - however he's never specific even though we're pretty sure it's about becoming president.  What happens in the final minutes would have been a far more interesting and personal storyline for the film to follow than a corporate merger.  Alas. 
So it's an okay film that has some pretty strong moments.  If you like the premise then chances are you'll probably dig it to some degree - it's far from perfect but it's worth checking out.

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