After watching the film Limitless
yesterday, I was struck by two things. One was that the premise is an awesome idea: What would happen if genius itself became an addiction, one that could kill you? The other was, "Well, he got off easy."
The movie begins In Medias Res
, with our main protagonist, Eddie Morro, about to jump off a cliff as some very brutal people begin barging into his house. We then cutback a few months to find him a washed out writer, not even able to even start his book. Then an old friend comes and offers a miracle treatment: A pill called NZT that increases intelligence, memory, and understanding to enormous amounts. Eddie takes the pill, and our movie startys.
The camera work is pretty nice. I liked the transitions between normal Eddie's world (Drab colors, blue lighting) and uuber Eddie's world (Brightened colors, yellow lighting). Although some of the special effects for the effects of NZT are cheesy or ugly looking (Especially the letters falling from the ceiling), a lot of them were very exhiliarating (Such as the zooming camera through the city). The violence is a bit over the top, but is pretty well-handled; the only scene that didn't quite look right was when one of the Mafiya died and began bleeding Hershey's chocolate. The acting is okay, with the strongest performance by Robert De Niro's businessman character. The Eddie's actor varies; sometimes he can be very good, and at other times he gives vacant looks of Dull Surprise
at inopportune moments. The rest of the cast is throughly average.
Unfortunately, this movie suffers from a real problem: The protagonist is a jackass. On the influence of NZT, he acts smug, manipulates several people including his girlfriend, makes deals with Russian gangsters, takes mind-altering drugs, and breaks into the business world just by being that
good. His decisions all look as if they should have real, tangible consequences, and they do. However, at the end, we suffer an enormous asspull: The main character got off the drugs offscreen, but retained all the capabilities. Why? Because he came up with Phlebotinum offscreen. Fuck that.
It really says something about the film's protagonist when my favorite scenes are when people tell him off (De Niro's scene in particular was an epic The Reason You Suck Speech
). I just couldn't like him, and thus I couldn't like the film.