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Sunday, May 24, 2015

Cooper's 'Limitless' is a cool, taut thriller

Thursday, July 21, 2011

(Photo)
Hollywood legend Robert De Niro (left) and Tinsletown's hottest cool guy Bradley Cooper star in 'Limitless' out on Blu-ray and DVD from Fox Home Entertainemtn.
Talk about your ultimate 'What if' scenario. "Limitless", recently released on Blu-ray and DVD, asked perhaps one of the most intriguing questions posed to a film audiences in a long time -- If you could take a pill that brings you everything you want, would you take it?

In the case of down and out writer Eddie (Bradley Cooper), the answer is a resounding yes. After being dumped by his girlfriend Lindy (Abbie Cornish) and with every aspect of his life in virtual ruin, he bumps into his ex-wife's brother who shows him the wonder-drug NZT. NZT allows a person to utilize 100 percent of their brain.

Once Eddie takes the pill, he's able to blast through his novel, but much like Samson after getting his hair cut, once the powers of NZT wears off, Eddie is back to his normal self and that's something he can't have.

After getting his hands on a large supply of NZT, he uses his newfound genius to play the stock market, reaching new heights of riches and notoriety. He funds his endeavors with money from brutal loan shark Gennady (Andrew Howard), a man who becomes a thorn in Eddie's side throughout the film.

But Eddie quickly learns there's a catch -- he must continue to take a pill or he begins to experience severe withdrawal symptoms. But it could be worse as he learns others who have taken the drug are dying.

Lindy is back in the picture after Eddie's confidence woos her back and along with her, he must find out how to prevent himself meeting the same fate as other NZT.

Not only does Eddie have to contend with Gennady and his goons, his new boss and mentor Carl's (Robert De Niro) motives turn out to be as dirty as any in the movie.

"Limitless" is a taut thriller with razor sharp intensity that keep you engaged from the moment the title hits the screen. Solid performances and a good script bolster the film, but Cooper is the glue that holds everything together.

The role of Eddie was made for Cooper. He's one of the best actors in Hollywood when it comes to 'playing it cool', but he's also able to show a little range, which was nice to see. Cornish was also solid as his love interest, but the veteran player in the game was the person who was most transparent.

Toward the end of the movie, De Niro is able to hold his own, but for the most part he's their and nothing more. I hate to say a legend mailed in a performance, but that's basically what happened. De Niro has been on a run of lackluster performances, so I hope to see the actor back to form in the near future.

The Blu-ray features both the theatrical and an extended cut of the film as well as the "A Man without Limits" and "Taking it to the Limit: The Making of Limitless" featurettes. There's also a commentary track by director Neil Burger and an alternate ending.

Final Cut: "Limitless" was that nice surprise that pops up every year. I found the film to be equal parts entertaining and intellectually stimulating. It's not the best film of the year, but it is one of the most intriguing.

4 out of 5 stars

Limitless

Starring: Bradley Cooper, Abbie Cornish, Robert De Niro, Andrew Howard

Writer: Leslie Dixon (Screenplay), Alan Glynn (novel: "The Dark Fields")

Director: Neil Burger

MPAA Rating: PG-13 for thematic material involving a drug, violence including disturbing images, sexuality and language

Run time: 1 hr. 45 min.

Available now from Fox Home Entertainment