Nothing Is Invisible

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Posts Tagged ‘The Illusionist’

Limitless – Starring Bradley Cooper, with Robert De Niro

Posted by the editors on Friday, 2 December 2011

Limitless (2011)(DVD)    Directed by Neil Burger (The Illusionist (2006)), starring Bradley Cooper (The Hangover (2009), The Hangover Part II (2011))Abbie Cornish, and Robert De Niro (The King of Comedy (1983), Cape Fear (1991), Analyze This (1999), What Just Happened (2008) and, of course, many others), based on the novel The Dark Fields by Alan Glynn.  On the surface, Limitless, a thriller, can, perhaps, be summed up as:  Presuming humans use only 20% of their over-sized brains, if you came across a biochemical means (that’s a drug to you and me, pseudo-nootropics to those in the know) to use all of that brain’s capacity, what would you do?  Of course, you’d use it to make lots and lots of money very fast, seduce sexy partners, buy new clothes and a new apartment, order food in the appropriate language when you go to restaurants (Chinese is a Chinese restaurant, Italian in an Italian restaurant, and so on) and become, in the end, an above-the-law politician.  Right?  In fact, Limitless is a concatenation of music videos and televisual advertising sequences in the guise of a thriller with a rhythm for those who, like the protagonist’s ex-wife, are unable to concentrate for more than 10 minutes (though the film reduces that to roughly 10 seconds).  There is, also, an awful lot that qualifies as routine: Russian gangsters, Wall Street greed and maneuvering.   This is not to say it isn’t amusing; like a 10 second ad that, well, lasts one hour and 45 minutes.  Obviously someone thinks, or thought, that Bradley Cooper has impressive charisma and an extraordinarily broad range.  Let’s say that he’s not terrible (he is a comic and TV presence in the US, after all).  However, that Abbie Cornish would get second billing is surely a testimony to her agent and lawyer, at the very least; she’s hardly in the film, and then when she is, one would have hoped for something better.  Robert De Niro, in his brief moments on screen, shows how it could be done, and even then one gets the distinct impression that his heart’s not only not in it, but that he may be late for lunch.  Nevertheless, one could say, as A.O. Scott of The New York Times said, Limitless is a “cynical fable..for an age of greed and speed.”  Perhaps. (PR)

See our post on the film What Just Happened, starring Robert De Niro, Sean Penn, Bruce Willis.

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