Plot summary (from the studio): Bradley Cooper and Robert De Niro star in Limitless, a paranoia-fueled action thriller about an unsuccessful writer whose life is transformed by a top-secret “smart drug” that allows him to use 100% of his brain and become a perfect version of himself. His enhanced abilities soon attract shadowy forces that threaten his new life in this suspenseful and provocative film.
Aspiring author Eddie Morra (Cooper) is suffering form 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, see, or heard, learn any language in a day, comprehend complex equations, and beguile anyone he meets–as long has 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 is life in jeopardy and the drug’s brutal side effects taking their toll, 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.
Warning: MAJOR spoilers below!
- This movie had a great premise and the potential to tell a wonderful story. I was hooked just by reading the description.
- I did NOT see the Hank Atwood twist (that Atwood had also been on NZT) coming. The writer definitely planted the seeds by having Van Loon ask, “Where was Atwood two years ago?” to which Eddie responded “Nowhere. He came out of nowhere.” That should have clued me in, but I totally missed it!
- I liked that Eddie told Van Loon to eff off at the end. It would have been easy for the writers to cloud the “happy ending” by making Eddie beholden to Van Loon in some way. I like that they went for broke instead.
- If NZT made Eddie so damn smart, why did it take him all that time to figure out he would need an infinite supply of the drug? Why spend time reading about the stock market when his first order of business should have been studying chemistry books so he could manufacture the stuff on his own???
- Speaking of the stock market, I didn’t understand the point of that at all. Eddie had been an aspiring writer, not an aspiring Wall St. baron. What did one have to do with the other? I get that he wanted money, so I have no problem with him turning $800 into a couple hundred grand. But why would he then want to WORK in the industry and be involved with Van Loon? That didn’t make any sense to me.
- Another thing that didn’t make sense was why Eddie borrowed money from the Russian gangster AFTER he learned that his Wall St. system worked? Was he in such a hurry to make millions that he needed a bigger stake right away? Why not do it some other way, like studying blackjack or poker and going to a casino?
- Drinking the Russian gangster’s blood to get an NZT contact high was all kinds of ludicrous. Seriously, how much of the drug could he have possibly gotten into his system that way?
- The girlfriend’s escape from Central Park was just dumb. It seems like a scene that sounded great on paper (in the script) but turned out poorly when actually filmed.
- Eddie must have known that the Russian guys would be coming for him — that’s why he staged the severed hands of his bodyguards in the safe. Yet despite that knowledge, he didn’t do ANYTHING ELSE to protect himself, like say, get a GUN or something???? Come on!!!!!
Even though I was willing to suspend a great deal of disbelief (a requisite for any sci-fi flick), I still had a lot of problems with this film. And the more I think about it, the less it makes sense. Nevertheless, it is definitely watchable and somewhat entertaining, so overall I give it 3 stars out of 5.