Monday, 17 September 2012


“Continuous effort - not strength or intelligence - is the key to unlocking our potential” - Winston Churchill

We watched an interesting film last weekend, which combined action with science fiction, social criticism with popular culture and Hollywood capitalism with aspirations to art – a tough job to combine all of these attributes, perhaps… It was the 2011 Neil Burger film, “Limitless” starring Bradley Cooper, Anna Friel, Robert de Niro and Abbie Cornish. It had a screenplay by Leslie Dixon based on the novel “The Dark Fields” by Alan Glynn.

The plot centres on Eddie Morra (Bradley Cooper) a down-and-out writer with writer’s block. As his life spirals downwards, his girlfriend Lindy (Abbie Cornish) dumps him (nicely). Eddie sees his existence implode into his filthy apartment and he struggles to make ends meet. He encounters by chance his ex-wife’s brother Vernon (Johnny Whitworth) who gives Eddie a pill called NZT, a drug that is able to make the brain use 100% of its capacity. Eddie takes the pill and suddenly he becomes a genius each of his memories, anything seen and read or heard all become immediately available to him. He is able to learn languages in hours, his mathematical skills increase a hundredfold and he not only starts, but finishes writing a brilliant novel.

When the pill’s effects wear off, Eddie seeks out Vernon to get more of the drug. However, Vernon is murdered and Eddie manages to escape, taking a cache of pills with him. His new abilities allow him to make big profits on the stock market where he attracts the attention of big businessman Carl Van Loon (Robert DeNiro). Unfortunately, some unsavoury characters are also looking for him: Gennady (Andrew Howard), a gangster and his thugs and a strange man in a brown coat (Tomas Arana). Eddie wins Lindy back but struggles to maintain his sanity by regulating the intake of the drug, or getting it back when it is stolen from him…

The movie was quite engaging and its basic premise was interesting and developed well, at least initially. As the film progressed, the plot weakened and the ending was a bit of a cop out with such an overt reference to a sequel that it was almost insulting to the viewer. Nevertheless we were kept interested and entertained while we watched it. The acting was fine but the film was carried by the tight direction and a host of impressive visual effect sequences by Joe Willems (cinematographer) and Connie Brink (Special Effects Coordinator). This was a concession to Hollywood’s demands for an action, dick-flick genre denomination. The film is worth seeing, even if only for the slickness of its look, although keep in mind the weak ending.

Now in terms of the drug, NZT, it is interesting to think of the possibility of its future existence! However, I think that it may make the people who take it completely and utterly mad!

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