Mostly entertaining, Limitless is a sci-fi thriller that oozes with style and the lead actor's charisma.

Scientifically, we are known to use between 10-20 percent of our brains. However, the who’s who in neurochemistry believes this to be a myth. As humans, we supposedly use 100 percent of brain, but at different times. Then again, that last line would be in obvious reference to the most intelligent of humans. But imagine what it would be like if we could use 100 percent our brain all the time.

Edward Morra (Bradley Cooper) is a down and out writer having failed to meet a deadline in handing in his new book. Worse, Eddie can’t find the words to get his book started. On the verge of becoming a ‘nobody’, Eddie bumps into Vernon Grant, a drug dealer and brother of his ex-wife. Out of goodwill, Vernon offers Eddie an experiential drug called NZT48, claiming it has the ability for humans to harness 100 percent of the brain’s capacity. With nothing to loose, Eddie consumes the pill and within a minute, receives an extra boost to his sensory perceptions. With NZT taking immediate effect, everything becomes absolutely clear to Eddie. From enhanced intelligence to boosted confidence, Eddie is a new man with an alter ego; A highly intelligent superhero of sorts, whose forte lies in ‘brain over brawn’. Not only does he publish his book, Eddie ventures into the financial world of stocks and shares and becomes rich at an unbelievable pace. Soon enough, Eddie’s blazing pace catches the eye of financial mogul Carl Van Loon (Robert DeNiro). Although Loon is skeptical about Eddie’s origins, he employs the latter rather than have to face competition from a rising Wall Street comet.

But as it seems, everything has a price. Eddie soon finds himself in a world of trouble. Not only is NZT addictive, withdrawal from the drug is potentially lethal. Eddie also learns that he is not the only person to benefit from this drug. Furthermore, having found Vernon murdered, Eddie walks away with a stash of NZT, only to become a target for multiple assassins.

When Bradley Cooper is not hung over from a bachelor party, he is a straight up action junkie or a drama king. This film is ample proof that Cooper is a multifaceted actor. This is also a Bradley Cooper film from beginning to end and will serve as a visual treat for all his female fans. Then there is DeNiro doing what he does best. Having recently cut a niche for himself in comedy, De Niro is back as the steely eyed nemesis with ulterior motives. As far as acting goes, I have nothing more to report. OK, maybe a quick mention to Abbie Cornish as Eddie’s on-off-on girlfriend and Johnny Whitworth as Vernon. All else are forgettable.

Based on Alan Glynn’s novel The Dark Fields, the concept here is mind blowing (excuse the pun). Adapting from this book, Leslie Dixon’s screenplay is intriguing for the most part. The script is visually enhanced by mind bending cinematography, some of which include fish-eye images and extensive zooming; Kudos to director Neil Burger for this technical finesse. As a sci-fi thriller with traces of a cloak and dagger feel, Limitless is mostly entertaining and oozes with style, thanks to Cooper’s on-screen charisma. Yes, but I also said the screenplay is intriguing for the most part. There is a lot of effort put in to give this film the look and feel it has and this is evident from start to finish. Somehow, all that effort seems rushed towards the end. The screenplay takes a beating as well. As such, the last 20 minutes seems clichéd and contrived. For lack of better words, I would call it a signature Hollywood ending.

If you don’t mind the tapered final act, some unanswerable questions and the notion that drugs can make us virtually invincible, then this is quite an entertaining film with an equally interesting concept.

Rating: ★★★½☆

About Lloyd Bayer

Besides his passion for travelling, photography and scuba diving, Lloyd is a prolific film critic having contributed hundreds of film reviews to web and print journals, including IMDb and local daily Khaleej Times.