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A spellbinding movie with a dynamic plot – Limitless – film review

 

Limitless, directed by Neil Burger, is an action drama with a sci-fi kernel lurking within its taut storyline. Handsome, blue-eyed Bradley Cooper stars as Eddie Spinola, an aspiring novelist suffering from writer’s block who is two steps away from becoming a homeless loser. His life and career turns around after he chances upon a top-secret drug that grants him superhuman mental capabilities. Next thing you know, our hero is Icarus striving to reach the sun. Eddie’s insatiable greed for power, fame and attention fuels his quest for glory, but is his fall inevitable?

Review by Pauline Adamek

Intricately plotted and scripted by Leslie Dixon, and based on a first novel by British author Alan Glynn, this gripping film stars Robert De Niro as a Gordon Gekko-type Wall Street mogul who gets to deliver some superb speeches. The luminously beautiful Abbie Cornish co-stars in what, at first glance, appears to be a thankless girlfriend role. Hers is a small but meaty role with a nice dose of action as well as a bit of intimacy with her leading man.

Boasting superb acting from the entire cast, this emphatic anti-drug parable features gorgeous cinematography and lighting as well as actual New York location shooting on the streets and in the fancy high-rise buildings of the bustling metropolis. Best of all, Cornish features in a thrilling chase sequence that takes place in a wintry Central Park.

 

This story is solid and keeps you guessing. While based on this excellent first novel by Glynn, surprisingly the movie is a noticeable improvement on the book, which provided the gripping and unpredictable plot, interesting characters and so on.

But when fashioned into cinema, we gain a better, leaner storyline (well-crafted by Leslie Dixon), more thoroughly fleshed-out characters (De Niro!) and a far better ending (which they apparently further altered during re-shoots). But I did enjoy reading the book, so I do recommend it as well.

Pauline Adamek

Pauline Adamek is a Los Angeles-based arts enthusiast with twenty-five years' experience covering International Film Festivals and reviewing new Theatre, Film and Restaurants.

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