The Movie: 8/10
A high score for a movie that really surprised and entertained me this week. I expected a lame over stylized producer friendly pile of poo when I sat down to watch Limitless, and no, that was not fair. What happened shortly after the movie started? I liked it. I liked the leading man, the premise, the sets, the flare for style, the grit of realism mixed with the element of Science Fiction, all of it. I won’t say it’s a perfect movie and there are holes here and there to the story and how it’s offered up to us, but when my mind is being so satisfied and stimulated visually as well as some thinking going, the flaws melt away.
A man comes across a pill that sharpens his ability to use his brain. It could be a metaphor or a cautionary tale about not living up to our potential, or it could be about addiction, or confidence, or mankind’s inability to ever be a perfect version of ourselves because we are so easily distracted. I really don’t know what the intentions of the story are, but for me it’s just good old fashioned excitement and fun wrapped in a well directed, well acted, special effect speckled flick that will stay on my mind for a long time.
Eddie, the guy who finds the pill, uses his new synaptic activity to wrangle the stock market, social engineer some folks, charm his way around town, raise his self image not to mention his mirror image. Everything he has ever seen or heard or ‘learned’ is available to him in any situation. No more of those buried references or forgotten tid bits back in the hidden corners of his mind, it’s all there flashing to the front. As an out of work writer he spent lots of time watching TV, old movies, Bruce Lee, and documentaries about history and weapons and all kinds of other stuff. All of this idiot box gazing finally pays off in his writing, in actual fighting, in dealing with a hard ass business man and in achieving his goal to be rich and influential.
If I were to complain about anything it would be that the plan to be rich and influencial isn’t designed very clearly for me. I get that he wants to be rich, fine. He buys some stuff, gets his girlfriend back, makes more money, and then what? He wants to be a wheeler dealer in big big big business and make billions. Fine. We get hints that he wants to change the world, or fix things, or what exactly? I’m still not sure. He does go from down and out to being a slick politician type, so we can infer that his plan is maybe world domination? Nah, it’s not that kind of movie, then again, it is called Limitless!!
I thoroughly enjoyed myself during this entire movie. It has a mixture of moods and from start to finish we are truly taken on a wild ride, and adventure in the city with this dude. We get to feel the rush of being so ‘tweeked’ on this drug that we are sucked through a certain kind of tunnel vision that’s hypnotic. It’s a visual effect I really enjoyed and unlike a lot of movies it really does clue us into the state of mind and experience Eddie is going through. It might be a bit heavy now and then with the wonky visuals that are supposed to indicate when our hero experiences some not so fun effects of the drug, but by the time we hit those blips of ambitious effects I was hooked so it didn’t matter at all.
The idea that we have in our minds, our brains, our selves the potential to do so much more, well, duh!!! I am the first to put my hand up to “If you’re lazy and you know it raise your hand”. I’m fundamentally brilliant, genius even, I simply have other things to occupy my time like online Scrabble and writing movie reviews and watching all of the original Star Trek on Netflix. You know, important stuff. Right, yea, just give me one of those damn pills!!!
- Theatrical & Unrated Cut – Unless the scene with some nakedness or the violence sends the rating to the corner to pout, I really don’t know what the 2 versions offer that’s significant enough for this to be a selling point.
- A Man Without limits – About the story, mostly a produced, brief, and a bit dry promotional extra.
- Taking It To The Limit: The Making Of Limitless – Behind the scenes we go…stunts, script, director, cast, how, why, where….etc.
- Director Audio Commentary – I like this director and he’s not terribly obnoxious like so many dudes who make these “message without a message” modern flicks.
- Alternate Ending – Oh, give me a break!! (translation, what a lame extra. No offense to the movie, which I love, but the alternate ending is empty, carrot on a stick kind of thing that’s more of a deleted idea and not at all in line with the tone of the whole movie. Take it back you DVD making people, it is not as dramatic as to “change everything”.
- Digital Copy – …and so it goes.
Cover Art and Menus: 3/10
I hate, or strongly dislike, or am not interested in this cover whatsoever. The split technique, a tri-sliced image with some nondescript The movie poster is better and I would consider having it hang in my home. As for this package, cover, menu, it’s all quite underwhelming compared to the groovy movie within.
Audio & Video: 8/10 (By Ascully)
Limitless boasts a HD transfer that shows off the contrast between scenes. This movie was shot on a couple of different film stocks using varying levels of focus and saturation. Pay close attention to Bradley Coopers eyes which come through in such detail it looks like the diagram of an eye you would find in an opticians room. Black levels are consistent and overall this stylish looking film looks great in HD.
Sonically this movies loss less soundtrack is limitless in its scope (see what I did there). This isn’t an action movie by any means but the frenetic style of the editing and sound design use panning effects that whip around the sound field. the fight scene in the subway is standout here with all kinds of subtle sounds coming from every angle. There is little to complain about with Fox’s transfer of Limitless.
I do think I will watch this movie again. If it’s a rainy day off and I want some flashback to a simpler time I can either watch more Star Trek on Netflix, or watch Limitless and let my own unplugged, un-jacked mind take a ride, no over thinking, no analyzing, just watch Eddie take his awesome trip down the rabbit hole. Or maybe it’s the road to hell. Or maybe it’s a road to nowhere. Then again, it’s none of those things, it is what it is, an excellent What If? creation I am so glad I have welcomed it into my movie soaked brain. Ah, that’s why all my cylinders aren’t firing as they should, dusty crowded memories
Overall Score 8/10