"Limitless"

"Limitless" is one of those rare movies where, before viewing the film, you expect it to be good, but then it ends up wildly surpassing your expectations. With a cast including Bradley Cooper and Robert DeNiro, I expected this to be a great movie, but the film ended up being absolutely terrific, and one of a handful of movies I have seen so far in 2011 that, in my opinion, is almost perfect.

Eddie Morra (Bradley Cooper, "The A-Team") is a struggling writer who has a book contract but hasn't written a word yet. One day on the street, he runs into his ex-brother-in-law, Vernon (Johnny Whitworth, TV's "CSI: Miami"), who gives him a sample of an "FDA-approved" designer drug that normally costs $800 a pill, called NZT. Suddenly, Eddie has tons of energy, and is able to use more of his brain than ever before; he even writes the majority of his book in a day. After the effects of the pill wear off, he knows he needs more of it, so he goes to see Vernon at his apartment and, after some unfortunate events, is able to obtain a large bag of NZT pills. When Eddie is on NZT, he is smarter, more charismatic, and able to do more with is his life than ever before, and he quickly makes a name for himself as a savvy investor, as well as reuniting with his ex-girlfriend Lindy (Abby Cornish, "Bright Star"). Problems arise, however, when some bad people want the NZT from him, and his own supply is quickly dwindling as it is.

Bradley Cooper carries the majority of this movie, and it was a wise choice to cast him; this is probably the most versatile performance I have ever seen of his. Robert DeNiro ("Little Fockers") plays a powerful businessman who gives Cooper's character a chance at making some serious money, and although he is good in his role, he doesn't really have enough screen time to justify touting him as a headliner with Cooper. Abbie Cornish and Johnny Whitworth are believable in their roles as Eddie's ex-girlfriend and his ex-brother-in-law, and Anna Friel (TV's "Pushing Daisies") has an interesting role as Eddie's ex-wife (and Vernon's sister), who has taken NZT for a long time and now is feeling its negative side effects. At the beginning of the film, Cooper plays a disheveled writer to a "T," with a ponytail and loose jeans, but by the end of the movie he has transitioned to a savvy, suave businessman, and Cooper is one of the few actors I can think of who has the ability to pull off both.

Yes, for sure see this film. The movie has a manic energy to it, just as Eddie has when he is on NZT, and it is this energy that keeps the film captivating throughout its 100-minute runtime. It also benefits from a 1st person narration by Eddie's character and that it takes place in New York City, which, with its franticness and fast pace, visually compliments what Eddie is feeling as he takes NZT; in some scenes I almost felt like the movie was in 3D, because of the way it speeds through the NYC street scenes. "Limitless" is a smart, interesting film that may end up being one of the best movies of the year, and it's one that I definitely wouldn't mind viewing a second time, or even a third.

"Limitless" is out in theaters today, March 18th.

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