Monday, August 29, 2011

Short Review of Limitless

The pretty one from the A-Team and the Hangover films is a ubiquitous presence in modern cinema.  Most outside the movie industry are not aware that a highly secretive contract was arranged in 2008 that requires Bradley Cooper to be given first refusal on all roles offered to all actors in Hollywood.  Rumours that a snappily-dressed man with red horns was acting as his agent have been strenuously denied.  Interestingly, this deal also includes all roles offered to female actors as Cooper is so very pretty that he can easily pass for a woman.  He recently turned down the lead female role in One Day which led to the second-choice Anne Hathaway getting the nod.
All of which brings us to Limitless; a movie with a very important message.  Ready kids? DRUGS ARE BAD.  Especially when they make you handsome, clever, popular, talented, powerful and rich.  The film's macguffin is an experimental  drug that apparently enables a person to access the 90% of the brain that they don't currently use.  Which is nonsense of course, there is no way we only use 10% of our brains, with the notable exception of Jedward who only use 8% between them.

Limitless is an entertaining ride, despite the rather ludicrous opening idea that Bradley Cooper is a useless loser; giving him straggly hair and dressing him drably doesn't change the fact he still looks like a movie star.  There are some interesting visual flourishes (one particular fight sequence seems to have taken several cues from the magnificent hammer fight scene in Park Chan-wook's Oldboy) but the over-reliance on tired tropes like evil Russian gangsters and machiavellian businessmen is disappointing.  Robert De Niro delivers his best performance for some time and Cooper has an undeniable charisma and likable presence in the lead role.  However, there is something of a mixed message at work here.  Limitless does go out of it's way to show the physical and mental downside of drug use but Cooper's character finishes the film revelling in the exceptional abilities that he only achieved through abusing the miracle drug in the first place.

Limitless further cements Bradley Cooper as the New Tom Cruise(tm) and the world can look forward to his starring turn in Eat Pray Love 2: The Nourishing stepping into the Julia Roberts role.

Rating   ***

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