[[quoteright:220:http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/220px-Limitless_Poster_4395.jpg]]

'''''Limitless''''' is a 2011 American techno-thriller film directed by Neil Burger and starring Creator/BradleyCooper, Abbie Cornish and RobertDeNiro. It is based on the 2001 novel ''The Dark Fields'' by Alan Glynn with the screenplay by Leslie Dixon. The film was released in the United States and Canada on March 18, 2011, and in the United Kingdom on March 23, 2011.

[[MostWritersAreWriters Aspiring author]] Eddie Morra (Cooper) is suffering from chronic writer's block, but his life changes instantly when an old friend introduces him to NZT, a revolutionary new pharmaceutical that allows him to tap his full potential. With every synapse crackling, Eddie can recall everything he has ever read, seen or heard, learn any language in a day, comprehend complex equations and beguile anyone he meets as long as he keeps taking the untested drug. Soon Eddie takes Wall Street by storm, parlaying a small stake into millions. His accomplishments catch the eye of mega-mogul Carl Van Loon (De Niro),who invites him to help broker the largest merger in corporate history. But they also bring Eddie to the attention of people willing to do anything to get their hands on his stash of NZT. With his life in jeopardy and the drug's brutal side effects grinding him down, Eddie dodges mysterious stalkers, a vicious gangster and an intense police investigation as he attempts to hang on to his dwindling supply long enough to outwit his enemies.
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!!This film provides examples of:


* AcquiredSituationalNarcissism: To have SuperIntelligence [[{{Pride}} goes right to any consumer of NZT's head]]: Everyone becomes DrunkWithPower, alienates his friends to be InWithTheInCrowd (only to discover that is LonelyAtTheTop), [[ArsonMurderAndJaywalking and becomes a]] SharpDressedMan.
* AntiHero: Eddie, by virtue of being ALighterShadeOfGrey.
* AppliedPhlebotinum: The NZT-48 pills.
* AsLongAsItSoundsForeign: The scene where Eddie speaks Chinese to the waiter at the Chinese restaurant has been heavily criticized as the characters are just speaking gibberish
* AwesomenessByAnalysis: What happens when apparently anyone takes a NZT pill. In Eddie's case, he becomes able to connect information within his brain in a way far superior than simple recall. Any new piece of information is connected to the web of knowledge inside his mind, and because it's all connected, he's able to call up any piece of info at any time. Especially when something related to it pops up, making the information useful.
* BeingWatched
* BookEnds: The film begins and ends with Eddie and Lindy in a restaurant.
* BrokenAesop: The film has a drug which whilst you are on it makes you superhumanly intelligent. The protagonist discovers to his horror that other people who have taken it have had fatal experiences with withdrawal (the only survivor of withdrawal he finds is a complete burn-out). His girlfriend points out that whilst he's on the drug he's a different person. Plus when he is off the drug he finds himself completely unable to cope and so desperately seeks to continue his supply, there are even escalating side-effects of headaches and missing time when he's on the drug. Seems like a fairly clear Aesop about not relying on artificial crutches to succeed and a metaphor for steroid hormones. However in the end [[spoiler:he uses the drug to solve all of his problems (although it's ambiguous if he's actually off the drug at the end or just used the drug to concoct a beautiful lie) and becomes a U.S. Senator, who is clearly destined for the White House.]] Implying that drugs are in fact good as long as you use them wisely.
* TheCastShowoff: Bradley Cooper speaking fluent French, which he does in real life.
* TheChessmaster: The Russian develops into one by the last act.
* ColorWash: Used deliberately when someone is on NZT. When someone is on NZT, the colours are vamped up and look more contrasting, showing their heightened self-awareness, whilst off NZT the colours are natural and dull.
* CunningLinguist: Eddie is able to pick up languages just by listening to them being spoken, and speaks excellent French and Italian (but atrocious Mandarin Chinese).
* DoesThisRemindYouOfAnything: Eddie's ex-wife is burned out on NZT, not crystal meth.
* DrugsAreBad: Played with. The movie shows the consequences of abusing the drug in very icky detail that sometimes enters ''RequiemForADream'' territory. But Eddie's much more capable and hyperintelligent when on said drugs, he's trying to quit them that turns things worse, [[spoiler:and it finally turns out he can remain super-smart without taking the drug at all ''or'' he used the intelligence boost to figure out how to make it himself while fixing the downsides]]. Could possibly be a BrokenAesop.
* DumbassNoMore: The premise of the film, though notably the guy who gets the full benefits of the drug is the one who was already an educated aspiring author; his similarly educated ex-wife is also notable for seemingly being the only character to recognize that the drug was too dangerous to keep using. The Russian loan-shark is the best example of someone who was actually a bit dumb, and noticeably while he is far smarter than he was before, he is still not comparable to Eddie, as one of his newest intelligence feats is discovering "this thing called Google."
* MrFanservice: Bradley Cooper as Eddie Morra.
* EyeScream: When Eddie sticks the needle in the eye of the Mafia thug.
* FantasticDrug: TheMovie.
* FatalFlaw: Eddie's {{Pride}} makes him so overconfident in his genius he doesn't ask himself the question most of us are thinking when he first uses NZT : What happens when you run out ?
* {{Foreshadowing}}:
** Done interestingly since the movie opens InMediasRes: Eddie jumping off the cliff into the sea foreshadows his [[spoiler: apparent]] suicide jump that opens the movie.
** After he takes NZT and before he decides to get rich, Eddie has a conversation about the rise and fall of the Portugese Empire: How some guys that nobody expected capable of anything take over the world for a few centuries, and as suddenly as they took charge, all his accomplishments vanish into nothing. As he puts it, "it's human nature to over-reach"
* FlippingTheBird: [[spoiler: The loanshark opens Eddie's safe to find severed hands flipping him off.]]
* GoodWithNumbers
* GreyAndGrayMorality: The movie's moral outlook is openly cynical, with both the hero and his antagonists indulging in very shady business.
* GrievousHarmWithABody: Eddie's girlfriend wards off her stalker by hitting him in the face with a small girl wearing ice skates.
* HardWorkHardlyWorks: Robert [=DeNiro=]'s character lectures Eddie about how he lacks the experience to use his talent and genius to full effect. He's wrong.
* HowWeGotHere: The opener of the movie is Eddie Morra standing on a high ledge, thinking back to everything that put him there.
* HyperAwareness
* IdiotBall: Eddie makes some dumb decisions for a guy with a four-digit IQ, though the pills do apparently give the user a feeling of invincibility. Which makes sense, as the pills increase your intelligence, but not your wisdom.
** Eddie could have avoided a lot of problems if [[spoiler:he had just paid the Russian loanshark back as soon as he had the money]]. Or just been a little more patient. He quadrupled his money in three days, all he need was another three days, and he would've had the 100K all on his own, without needing to pay loan shark-level interest or get involved in crime.
** More fundamentally, before he even takes his second pill, he's aware A) that there are people willing to kill for these pills, and they might be aware of him, and B) that he has a limited supply of the pills, and no clue where to get more. Despite being a super-genius, he apparently doesn't even ''worry'' about these issues or how best to resolve them, until forced to. Driving a Maserati real fast is more important.
* IKnowMortalKombat: Eddie figures out how to fight by recalling Bruce Lee films and self-defence videos.
* ImprobablyHighIQ: Eddie describes himself as having a "four digit IQ," which is for all intents and purposes impossible. Granted it could've just have been a deliberate exaggeration to make the point that his IQ was too high to be measured.
* ImprovisedWeapon: The movie involves fighting with syringes, pianos, and a little girl on ice skates.
* InMediasRes: The film opens with Eddie in his apartment as the Russian and his thugs are about to break in, contemplating suicide by jumping.
* InsecuritySystem: Eddie's "fortress" of a condo apparently doesn't even have an alarm.
* InstantExpert: NZT-48 allows Eddie to develop expertise in just about any field (from Mandarin to economics) in a matter of hours.
* KarmaHoudini:
** Though his life goes through hell for a while, Eddie still gets away with removing evidence from the scene of a murder, sleeping with a married woman, cheating on his own girlfriend after they get back together, possibly murdering the girl he cheated with (he can't remember if he did it, but he was probably there at least), and taking and manufacturing illegal drugs by the end of the film.
** Also [[spoiler: the mook who stalks Eddie for most of the film, threatens his girlfriend and murders two innocent people in broad daylight. But in the end, it was all out of loyalty to his dying boss and he helps Eddie get the NZT back, so all is forgiven.]]
* ALighterShadeOfGrey: Eddie, despite evolving to be as crooked as his enemies are, still comes off as much more sympathetic.
* TheLoad: The movie begins with Eddie is a divorced writer who suffers chronic writerís block and is dumped by his girlfriend Lindy. Then Eddie takes [[AppliedPhlebotinum NZT-48 pills]], a revolutionary new pharmaceutical that allows him to tap his full potential... as TheMillstone.
* LonelyAtTheTop: Trying to get rich, Eddie manages to alienate Lindy, the only person who truly cares about him, leaving him with the CorruptCorporateExecutive and the Mafiya.
** Eddie's ex wife also dumped him while she was under the NZT's influence. Eddie would have not contacted her if not for his own problems with NZT.
* TheMafiya: The loan shark is apparently from the Russian mob.
* TheMillstone: Eddie manages to ruin Van Loon's greatest business; he unwillingly hooks the Russian into NZT, his two bodyguards are killed, as well as two {{Heroic Bystander}}s. Lindy realizes Eddie cannot care about anything except NZT, so she abandons him as fast as she can.
* MissingTime: Too much NZT-48 - more than one pill a day - seems to cause this.
* MostWritersAreWriters: As is the protagonist, Eddie.
* NinetyPercentOfYourBrain: Eddie's initial dealer outright says that "you only use 20% of your brain."
* {{Omniglot}}: In his first month on the drug, Eddie was able to learn and fluently speak foreign languages, just by listen to them a few times. We see four (Italian, Russian, French and Mandarin), but there's probably more. Cooper's fluency in French is actually true.
* OntologicalInertia: Subverted because there is no time travel, but one of the themes of the movie is how, even with the AppliedPhlebotinum NZT pills, things continue to be the same:
** Lindy is a winner before she takes NZT, but after that, she doesn't become a loser. She doesn't want anything to do with the drug that made her cross the MoralEventHorizon.
** Eddie seems to have been gone from RagsToRiches in very short time. But then the CorruptCorporateExecutive cut all his credit. He could have won millions if he would waited, but NZT comes with limited time.
* OrangeBlueContrast: Used constantly in the movie as well as the poster.
* PhlebotinumOverdose
* PhotographicMemory
* PowerUpFood: Well, Power Up Pills, but same difference, right?
* {{Reed Richards IS Useless}}: Instead of curing cancer or ending world hunger, most users apply their new smarts for money, political power, or just making their lives better. {{Justified|Trope}} with varying levels of {{With Great Power Comes Great Insanity}} as users like Eddie still make impulsive decisions which can be increased by the drugs giving feelings of invincibility. He does also figure out [[spoiler:a way to keep NZT's properties without needing the drug, and even enhance them.]]
** Eddie at least plans to subvert this. But most of the movie's plot centers around him trying to raise the insane amount of money he decides he will need to put his plan into motion and it's never revealed what that plan actually is beyond that (presumably [[spoiler: running for Senate]] is one of the next steps).
** Eddie also describes an effect of NZT as basically not being allowed to stop pushing for a more immediate form of self-challenging self-expression. This arguably means it would take a rare personality to stick to curing cancer or ending world hunger on NZT long enough to get results unless given reason to. In other words, Reed Richards might not be Useless if he wasn't his own boss.
* PrecisionFStrike:
--> "Thursday I need 20 pills"
--> "Thursday you can go FUCK YOURSELF"
* RagsToRiches: Middle class Eddie Morra invokes this trope. Sadly, [[DeconstructedTrope it takes much more time than he wants to spend on this goal]], so he asks for a loan from TheMafiya and takes a credit from the CorruptCorporateExecutive. It got worse from there. See WritersCannotDoMath for a deeper analysis.
* {{Renaissance Man}}
* SharpDressedMan: A side effect of NZT is compulsive self improvement, such as getting a hair-cut, cleaning your apartment, working out and buying expensive outfits. When you're off of it, you fall apart.
* SherlockScan: Eddie does this to just about everyone he meets after starting NZT.
* ShoutOut:
** The name of the book Eddie eventually writes is ''Illuminating the Dark Fields.'' The book on which this movie is based is ''The Dark Fields,'' by Alan Glynn.
** The name of the writer on the law student's book is L. Dixon III, a reference to the film's screenwriter Leslie Dixon.
** An aimless guy takes a pill and suddenly is a {{Superhero}}, gets into perilous adventures with a lot of [[SharpDressedMan Sharp Dressed Men]]. Where have I seen this movie? And it has the best ShoutOut ever.
-->'''Eddie''', to his two [[SharpDressedMan Sharp Dressed Bodyguards]]: '''Oh, and please, donít use the same suit. This is not TheMatrix.''
* StealthPun: In the third act Eddie is given a package labeled "Hand Delivery to Edward Mazzo". What does the package contain? [[spoiler: The severed hands of his bodyguards.]]
* SuperIntelligence: NZT grants all kinds, though it helps to be clever to start with.
* SuperSpeedReading: Melissa gained this ability while on NZT.
* TheReasonYouSuckSpeech: Although it's much milder than "the reason you suck", Van Loon gives Eddie one, explaining that while he has raw genius (thanks to NZT), he doesn't understand how it is to use hard work to make it to the top.
* TooDumbToLive: The Russian, for hiring a bodyguard ''who is blind in one eye.'' Which Eddie of course takes advantage of in the final scene.
** And as a reminder, the Russian is also on NZT.
** Eddie could have avoided a lot of problems by paying back the Russian as soon as he could. Which was like 48 hours later.
* WritersCannotDoMath: Eddie was quadrupling his money every day. He started off with 800 dollars the first day, got 2 grand the second and had 7.5 grand the third. He said that this was going "too slow" so he went to borrow $100,000 from a loan shark the next day. However, if he just kept doing what he was doing, he would have quadrupled his 7.5k and gotten 30k the next day and then 120k the day after that. He saved himself ''one day'' by taking out that loan. If he kept his head down the whole time and played the stocks by himself, he would have earned 120 million dollars in a week from the day he decided he needed to take out a loan, without actually needing to take the loan out. Apparently no one on the writing staff understands exponential growth.
** I think the point was he couldn't keep that exponential growth going for very long. It's easy to turn 2 grand into 7.5, just only need to make another 5.5, but to turn 30k into 120k, that's a bit harder.
** More still, by the time Loan Shark comes after Eddie, he's already made at least a few millions, who could be used to pay the debt. However, the overdose effects and [[spoiler:Atwood]]'s henchman obviously distracted him from that trouble.
* UnratedEdition: Which restores the original ending that got dropped after test screenings.
* VomitIndiscretionShot: Eddie vomits after finding out that the blonde woman he made out with has been murdered. He wonders if HE is the murderer.
* WhatHappenedToTheMouse: The blonde woman who turned up dead, leading Eddie to wonder how much he was unable to recall from his experiences.
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