Neil Burger’s new thriller Limitless, starring Bradley Cooper and Robert De Niro, is about a writer who discovers a new drug allowing him to enhance his mental abilities by increasing his intelligence and improving his focus.

The crux of the movie is addiction; the process, the withdrawal and the consequences. Or at least that’s what I assumed throughout most of the film. It was visually exciting, fun and developed many layers to the plot during the 105 minutes of running time. But that’s its main downfall; the movie ends abruptly, leaving a score of questions unanswered or explanations quickly hashed together.

At one point in the film Eddie (Cooper) is close to death as his body becomes so heavily reliant on the drug NZT that it begins to shut down and he is expected to die soon. This isn’t an assumption as we see Eddie attempt to contact other users only to find out they’re all either dying or already dead. This is obviously a major driving factor of the plot but unfortunately is completely ignored near the end of the film – perhaps out of convenience.

A woman’s murder and Eddie’s personal drug lab are hastily explained in scenes lasting a few minutes at best.

As with most movies, there is a love interest. It was however sad to see a portrayal of love characterised by going after a man during his spells of good fortune and repeatedly leaving him when he’s struggling. The movie seems to imply this is perfectly acceptable.

Bradley Cooper was right in his interview with IMDb when he described the movie as “fun” and as much as I enjoyed watching the film, the ending was a major disappointment that left me complaining about the loose ends. Eddie was an interesting character and the film explored both the ups and downs of drug addiction but based on the ending, the moral of the story seems to be along the lines of “If you do drugs and eventually get off them, you’ll be okay if not much better off than where you started!”

First posted on Movie Nation: March 30th, 2011

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