Saturday, August 20, 2011

Limitless on DVD

The idea of Limitless is fascinating. Eddie Morra (played by Bradley Cooper from Alias), a straggly-haired bum with a serious case of writer's block, stumbles onto a drug that lets him unlock one hundred percent of his brain at once. The average human uses something like twenty percent. So, he becomes incredibly intelligent, able to remember facts he picked up in passing and never realized were still in his brain, able to assimilate fighting techniques he only ever saw on TV. With such power, he has the ability to get rich quick, to maneuver his way to the top of society, perhaps even to become president if he so wishes. All he has to do is keep taking the drug on a daily basis or he goes back to his old bum self.

But the drug is obviously addictive and, therefore, extremely dangerous. Others have taken it before him, and they are now all dead or dying. Someone keeps hunting him down and trying to kill him. Not to mention the thug who gets ahold of one of his pills and then blackmails him to keep supplying. Eddie has a complicated life, and somewhere along the way, it's going to crack.

I thought this was an intriguing concept and a good, though exaggerated, way to get across the message that drugs are really, really bad. But the end kind of ruined the message, and I have to give SPOILERS here, so if you plan to see the movie, I strongly caution you against reading the section in brackets.

[The drug has severe side-affects if you stop taking it, leading to sickness and often death. But if you take too much and don't watch your health in other ways, the drug makes you lose hours of your life, not knowing what happened or where you were. When Eddie gets to the point of collapse, he realizes he has to dose down slowly, but by then, it's almost too late. His pills are stolen, and he's being chased by another guy who's on them. There's no way he can win. Through a very disturbing scene you will undoubtedly cringe away from, he drinks blood filled with the drug and manages to escape torture and death.

Then the movie skips ahead twelve months to Eddie running for senator. The basic gist of the end is this: Eddie beats the drug and manages to retain an incredible amount of intelligence without being on it. He wins, which is what you want your hero to do, right? But it doesn't feel right. For one, Eddie was never really a hero; he was a druggie. He didn't just get off the drug; he manipulated the recipe so that when he finally did get off, his brain would still function at those high levels. He still used the drug to get higher up in life, and in the end, he became something he wasn't, something no normal human is supposed to be. It's kind of cool, but it's also wrong and sends the opposite message about drugs than I thought the movie was sending: if you're smart enough, you can beat the drug. So not true.]


So, even though this movie is science fiction, I would use caution in letting younger viewers see it. It's rated PG-13, but there is some sexuality, violence (stabbing), disturbing imagery (drinking blood, for one), and language.

Three stars.


  1. I thought this movie was more about the dangers of unlocking the full potential of the human mind. I suppose, given the methods of doing so, that an anti-drug message would come out of it.

    I also, though, heard that the notion that humans only use 10-20% of their brains was a myth. The rest of the brain is used for unconscious functions (or something like that).

    I'd still like to see the movie, though.

  2. Limitless is an exhilarating hour and 45 minutes of pure creativity and suspense. Aside from some holes in the film and not being able to answer all the questions it asks, Limitless is what many movies are not these days, that is; a breath of fresh air. It has a very creative storyline and had lots of potential. Even with those flaws, you still have to give it credit for being so ambitious and so much fun to watch.


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