Movie Review: Limitless

March 26, 2011

Eddie Morra (played by Bradley Cooper) is an aspiring author who is suffering from writer’s block and cannot complete the book that he has dreamed of writing. He meets an old friend who has a new drug (“NZT”)that he promises will improve Eddie’s thinking. Eddie takes the drug and his life changes. Suddenly he is a genius. He has instant recall of every fact he ever learned. He is able to use logic to solve any problem. He finishes his book and it is brilliant. But that is not enough. He goes to Wall Street and makes millions in days. But things spiral from there….. sort of.

Before I explain, let me jump to the conclusion of this review. It was a fun movie to watch and was interesting. But I hated it. Here is why. My mind thinks in terms of theology, morals, judgement and mercy. This movie had none of those. I believe it wins the award for worst moral of any movie I have ever seen. Not worst morals (nudity, violence, etc) those were not that bad; worst moral (proverb, lesson, significance etc). Here is why…

Spoiler alert – I need to tell the end to explain my issues with the movie!

The movie has a normal plot line – man has problem, man seeks solution, solution turns out to be worse than the problem….He takes NZT and it works for a while. But then he learns it is dangerous. Previous users are dead or dying. The supply is limited (his dealing friend is dead). And he blacks out occasionally (and possibly murdered someone while in a blackout). To top it off he has two different bad guys trying to kill him to get his stash.

He uses his powers selfishly. He goes after sex (manipulating countless women into bed effortlessly). He goes after fame (writing a best seller). He goes after money (anticipating the stock market with insightful analysis). And he goes after power (running for Senator).

The movie is set for a good moral. “There are no easy solutions to life’s problems.” “If it seems too good to be true, it probably is.” “Don’t be selfish.” Or maybe even “Don’t take mysterious drugs.”

But no. Here is the end. He figures out how to beat the bad effects of the drug. He gets money, the girl, fame and power. He wins.

The moral? “Do drugs, get girls, money, fame and power.” This will not be mistaken as one of Aesop’s lost fables.

Worst moral ever.

Stars: 1 1/2

9 Responses to “Movie Review: Limitless”

  1. Stefan Helm Says:

    You based the quality of the film on your subjective views on morality? That’s interesting.

    The point is that this drug was a solution to life’s problems, it’s simply an interesting piece of science fiction.

    • WVS Says:

      Hi Stefan, First off, I made it clear that my review was based on the moral not the morality. Think Aesop. Further, all people judge movies based on their subjective opinions (about the morality, the moral, and etc). If a neo Nazi did a technically brilliant movie that encouraged racial hate, I think we would all join together to say that while the film was technically good, the moral sort of ruined it. The stories we tell are important. Regardless of the skill in which the stories are told, the content matters.

      That was my point about Limitless. The film was technically good (and I said so) but didn’t have a very good moral to it. In the US, we have a huge meth problem. Meth makes people feel invincible and get a lot accomplished. I can’t think of a better promotional movie for meth than Limitless.

      There are lots of websites out there that look at technical skill. There are lots of reviewers out there that can evaluate that better than I. I am a pastor and my expertise is in big themes. Theology. Philosophy. History. I like to look at movies through those paradigms. If people want to read my reviews, that is what they can expect.

  2. James / hackajim Says:

    you are soooo right on. limitless is obviously about meth, but think about the ending, and imagine a lab that could make “safe meth”. engineered to be like the drug in this movie. I know its a dream that has many dangers and not could but WOULD ruin many lives, we can always dream of a becoming psudo-superhero’s with a simple pill. even if it had to be in a controlled environment where you go to this place and take it “tapered off” as they say in the movie so that you could retain your studies and work from while you were on it.

  3. Nucker Says:

    Here is my question. Why is meth being peddaled by hollywood (this movie cost lots of money and more importantly each scene is carefully planned). As a mainstream movie it will leave PLENTY of fragile minds looking for this drug, real life already having taught them that the ending is an outcome they can forge about. Also why are the Drug companies peddeling Meth, Ritalin and a host of other meth formulas that are principally designed for children.

    As to ruining lives, that took place centries ago when mankind lost its ability to think for itself. A shift from the current better life Utopia can only be good.

  4. Jonathan Says:

    U guys are missing huge fact in the end of the movie. In the end of the movie his lifestyle peeks while hes off the drug. Remember, carl van loone shut NZT down including all the labs

  5. dodge Says:

    i basically saw the movie as being man has no life, takes drugs and all is good, double doses to “do more” with his life, gets all his life together, then weans himself off the drugs and doesnt need to depend anymore. by then he has the money the women the power. its like the movie is saying take drugs and open your mind, be vigelant about what you taking and get your life together then wean off and youll be ok, (maybe even be president). i dont agree with this at all and didnt like the movie for this message it was portraying.

  6. GGLM Says:

    Trust American Christians to miss the point entirely. It is a Christian allegory which makes reference to a man selling his soul to the devil. De Niro represents God and Cooper the Devil. The conclusion of the movie is that God has become an enemy of America (an allusion paid to its status as mystery babylon re. the film references to Taxi Driver).

    • aar Says:

      Hi GGLM,

      Thanks for the interesting post. I don’t know about your swipe at American Christians but I do appreciate the interesting interpretation of the movie.

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