Thursday, March 24, 2011


Limitless – 105m – PG-13

Warning! Do not go see this movie under the influence of alcohol. There are some seriously cool camera shots that will completely blow your mind. This movie made great use of blending the reality of what we see with what the character sees. I felt dizzy at times with the way the film was shot but it added a certain thrill. It’s a great what-if movie with a rollercoaster feel.

Limitless gives us a glimpse into what it would be like to have unlimited access to our minds. The premise of the movie is that we only use about 20 percent of our brain. With the help of this wonder drug a person can access and use 100 percent. On a side note that 20 percent thing is a myth here is a link to an article in the Scientific American. Reality aside, this pill takes Eddie Morra (Bradley Cooper) from an unmotivated, unthinking lout and turns him into an intellectual titan. He now has the ability to recall every memory of everything he has ever seen. He finishes the book that he has taken forever on in four days. He gets into Wall Street and makes millions in two weeks. The things that he could not manage in social activities he can now manipulate. He reconnects with his ex-girlfriend, Lindy (Abbie Cornish), and becomes a rising star in Carl Van Loon’s (Robert De Niro) company. This does not come without a cost, and we see some typical drug addict story elements.

One really great thing about this film is its use of camera shots strung together to illustrate how Eddie lives his life. Neil Burger did an excellent job of relaying that aspect through this film. This movie captures a lot more from his range than his previous films: Illusionist and The Lucky Ones. Burger did a wonderful job on his previous films, but this one is by far the best out I have seen from him. On two specific instances we have single long continuous shots of zooming camera angles that link together so it looks like you are zooming from one end of New York to the other. They are seamlessly tied together to look like one shot. Also some effects with a camera lens that show how his brain works that are truly brilliant, ratcheting up the lighting and color for after the drug is taken also make the audience feel like they are with Eddie when he juices up. From film makers stand point I really like how they did this movie, I so want to geeking out about some more shots but I don’t want to spoil the movie for people who have yet to see the movie. So if you see this film and want to talk further please send me an e-mail. My e-mail in in my profile.

One subtext to this movie that I think is under explored is the fact that Eddie’s powers are not earned, but given. The story misses the opportunity to expand this concept further. This under used point does not take away from the overall experience of the film and it’s a fun ride. It also bugs me a bit that this movie might be glorifying the use of drugs to better the mind. There’s a striking parallel between this drug and steroid use. I am still really just learning to look at films with more of an analytical point of view. Maybe my film classes have me thinking too much about subtext. Sometimes, there is no subtext -- just fun stories that are told.

This week’s question has to be if you had access to this wonder drug that made you smarter, would you take it?

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