Robert De Niro
One of the best things going for LIMITLESS is director Neil Burger’s visual sense. Starting with maybe the year’s coolest title sequence, the movie is highly stylized and flows free-form through its version of New York City. The visual differences when Eddie’s on the drug are striking and captures the changes in a visually stimulating way. In fact, I got a very David Fincher vibe from everything, with Burger trying hard to be slick and masterful of the material. More specifically, LIMITLESS feels very similar to FIGHT CLUB, with its impossible moving camera, quick cutaways and flash frames, witty self-referential narration and even some shots of the goings-on inside the brain.
What it doesn’t have is the clever script of that movie. The main problem is that, as written, Bradley Cooper’s character is not really interesting or relatable aside from his pill taking. With his new found abilities, you’ll like what Eddie can do, but the man himself is pretty worthless and ironically dumb at his core. Nothing against Cooper, but an actor with a little bit more natural charisma and proven likability could’ve perhaps carried this a little bit further. But in the end, it’d be tough for anyone to overcome the writing here. (DeNiro has a couple scenes where he actually shows a spark of acting life, but poor Abby Cornish is a complete non-character as the girlfriend.) The movie starts out at a great pace as Eddie gains his “super powers” and uses them for everything from the stock market to fighting, but then slows down considerably in the second act when the complications set in. Sadly, it never fully recovers that sense of fun or intrigue by the end.
While nitpicky, I also can’t be the only person that was bothered by the film’s central conceit, mainly that accessing 100% of your brain would make you a super genius. Yes, you only use about 20% of your brain at a time, but you still utilize different parts for different things. It’s not like there’s 80% of your mind untapped with magic powers. It’s just one of those things that could easily be explained away by the script, if someone had thought it through.
Commentary by director Neil Burger: Burger seems like a very talented director, but you wouldn’t immediately know it from listening to this track, as he mainly describes what’s happening on screen instead of what went on behind it. It would’ve been exponentially better had Bradley Cooper joined him to help make it entertaining and focused.
Alternate Ending: Simply a vaguer version of the original finale, with less spelled out and less resolution. They made the right choice to go with the other one.
A Man Without Limits: A short, generic featurette on the character of Eddie Mora to life: casting, costuming, and even his hairstyle.
Taking It to the Limit: This making of feature is the most substantial extra at almost 12 minutes and covers a lot ground from adapting the original novel to casting to production and more. Still probably not worth watching unless you were really in to the movie.
A Trailer and Digital Copy are also included.
Extra Tidbit: Bradley Cooper replaced original star Shia LeBeouf. I guess the movie could’ve used more, “No, no, no, no, no! No!”