Limitless (2011)

<strong class="MovieTitle">Limitless</strong> (2011)

(In theatres, April 2011) Newsflash : Smart movie about a smart man getting smarter pleases movie reviewer who think he’s smart.  Pro-intelligence biases made obvious, here’s what works in Limitless: a clever script that has way too much fun exploring the wish-fulfillment potential of artificially-enhanced intelligence; Neil Burger’s compelling direction; Bradley Cooper’s increasing stature as an actor who can do both charm and intelligence; an ending that’s considerably more upbeat than Alan Glynn’s source novel; and an overall attitude that, yes, more intelligence can actually be beneficial.  Even in indulging in such traditional faux-pas as voiceover narration and a flash-forward prologue, the script is witty, darkly amusing and ends on a high note.  Visually, Limitless deliberately flourishes along with its characters: the opening credits zoom-in alone is a thing of wonder.  There’s no doubt that Limitless could have been better: neither Abbie Cornish nor Robert de Niro have much to do; the main character isn’t as compelling as he should be; the ending is a bit rough (albeit kind of cool); some third-act revelations aren’t surprising and there are at least two really dumb plot holes that even moderately-smart viewers will be able to spot (ie: Always pay off your psychotic bookie first and Always secure your supply chain.)  Still, Limitless remains fun to watch and, significantly, marks the second of three decent SF film consecutively shown in theatres as of early April 2001 alongside The Adjustment Bureau and Source Code.  Who could complain?

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