{2jtab: Movie Review}

Limitless - blu-ray review


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3 stars

Drugs are bad, mkay?  Except when they aren’t.  As bad for you, I should add.  Science suggests that we only use something like 15% of our brain’s potential at any given time (or maybe throughout our lifetime).  What a waste.  It’s a tragedy; a crime against our selves caused by ourselves.  Playing a little game of ‘What if?’ with the audience, director Neil Burger (The Illusionist) presents a situation in which a pill unlocks real human potential and, offering a twist, suggest the real human potential becomes the addiction – not the drug.  Although easily ripped apart by logic if studied too long, Limitless is an agreeable and frenetic trip down the Matrix-light rabbit hole.

Based on 2001’s The Dark Fields written by Alan Glynn, Bradley Cooper plays struggling writer Edward Morra, a man who looks to be in the throes of depression.  Pale, unwashed, and unkept, it is soon revealed that, while Eddie does have a residence in New York City, everything in his world is falling apart.  He can’t focus on anything for longer than a minute; he can’t get over his writer’s block and is missing deadlines left and right; he’s recently been dumped by his girlfriend Lindy (Abbie Cornish) and his contact with people is unimpressive and a bit strange.

That is until he bumps into his ex-brother-in-law Vernon Gant (Johnny Whitworth).  The differences between the two are interesting enough.  One, a struggling writer, and the other, a former drug dealer turned freelance pharmaceutical pimp.  It’s a casual enough encounter, yet when Vernon offers Eddie a pill (NZT, he calls it) to help access 100% of Eddie’s drained brain functions (instead of the normal 15%), Eddie can’t resist temptation’s call.

As a result, he finishes the book in two days.  His world is suddenly electric, buzzing, and completely alive.  Eddie is at the top of his game and he wants more NZT.

Which brings him to Vernon’s apartment.  Once inside, he realizes that Vernon has been killed and assumes it was a drug deal gone really, really bad.  Inspired by the mess around him, Eddie searches the apartment and finds a stash of money and NZT.  Eddie uses the money to make even more money while on NZT and, his insightful actions with stocks and bonds, earns him the attention of  famed businessman Carl Van Loon (Robert DeNiro) and, on the opposite side of the spectrum, Russian mafia thug, Gennady (Andrew Howard).  With his supply running out and the complications of NZT wrecking havoc on his body and his life, Eddie finds himself running on empty away from everyone…

There’s a frenetic look to the glossy sleek photography through Limitless which is highly imaginative and sort of wonderful all in its own right.  It’s fully engaged and doesn’t back off of that expression.  At all.  Even when the script – written by Leslie Dixon – gets gassed by its own narcotics, Jo Willems intoxicating handling of the camera gives it the mojo to get by.  Yet, with a movie as adrenaline fueled as Limitless is, the fact of science isn’t the rational to judge it by.  Movement is.  Furious is the pace and fury it delivers.  Momentum.  Handing it out like candy at Halloween.

Cooper absolutely delivers a firecracker performance of morphing capabilities, proving his leading man competence, throughout the twisting maze of addiction verses reality in Limitless and, while the film is never as smart as you want it to be, it certainly makes for insult-free entertainment.

With its futureshock vibe and uber-sleek visual appeal, Limitless amps up its own addiction by making the human mind the agent of withdrawal.  In other words, it’s a guilty pleasure.


{2jtab: Film Details}

Limitless - blu-ray reviewMPAA Rating: PG-13 for thematic material involving a drug, violence including disturbing images, sexuality and language.
: Neil Burger
: Leslie Dixon
Cast: Bradley Cooper; Robert DeNiro; Abbie Cornish; Andrew Howard; Anna Friel
Genre: Sci-fi | Thriller
What if a pill could make you rich and powerful?
Memorable Movie Quote: "No scenario? I see every scenario, I see 50 scenarios, that's what it does Carl - it puts me 50 moves ahead of you."
Relativity Media
Release Date:
March 19, 2011
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date:
July 19, 2011

Synopsis: Bradley Cooper and Robert De Niro star in Limitless, an action-thriller about a writer who takes an experimental drug that allows him to use 100 percent of his mind. As one man evolves into the perfect version of himself, forces more corrupt than he can imagine mark him for assassination.

Out-of-work writer Eddie Morra's (Cooper) rejection by girlfriend Lindy (Abbie Cornish) confirms his belief that he has zero future. That all vanishes the day an old friend introduces Eddie to MDT, a designer pharmaceutical that makes him laser focused and more confident than any man alive.

Now on an MDT-fueled odyssey, everything Eddie's read, heard or seen is instantly organized and available to him. As the former nobody rises to the top of the financial world, he draws the attention of business mogul Carl Van Loon (De Niro), who sees this enhanced version of Eddie as the tool to make billions.

But brutal side effects jeopardize his meteoric ascent. With a dwindling stash and hit men who will eliminate him to get the MDT, Eddie must stay wired long enough to elude capture and fulfill his destiny. If he can't, he will become just another victim who thought he'd found invincibility in a bottle.


{2jtab: Blu-ray Review}

Limitless - blu-ray review

Component Grades

Blu-ray Disc
3 stars

4 stars

Blu-ray Experience
3.5 stars


Blu-ray Details:

Available on Blu-ray - July 19, 2011
Screen Formats: 2.40:1
: English, French, Spanish
Audio: English: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1; French: Dolby Digital 5.1
Discs: 50GB Blu-ray Disc; Two-disc set (1 BD, 1 DVD); Digital copy (on disc)

The AVC encoded 1080p transfer (in 2.40:1) is bursting with magnificence.  The colors are continually (and purposefully) changing to fit the balance of NZT and Cooper’s performance damn near defines the look of the picture.  Blazingly sharp colors, inky blacks, and then – when the NZT is low – a steely blue shutters the color.  The detail is fine and the sound, supplied by a lossless DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track is boldly dynamic; rich in dialogue and booming lows.



  • Director Neil Burger supplies the thoughtful prose for this disc’s commentary.  All topics are covered for this blazingly sharp commentary.  He discusses the adaptation of the script from the book and some of the technical trick shots used for the film.  It’s pretty lively and detailed.

Special Features:

While the blu-ray does boast the theatrical and unrated version of the film, the special features are boringly standard. The making-of EPK is flashy but not interesting and the alternate ending is not nearly as bright as the original. The rest is fairly uninspired.

  • A Man Without Limits (4 min)
  • Taking it to the Limit: The Making of ‘Limitless’ (12 min)
  • Alternate Ending (5 min)
  • Theatrical Trailer
  • Digital Copy

{2jtab: Trailer}