Limitless: A wildly entertaining 2011 sci-fi film

What if a pill could make you rich and powerful?

2011 sci-fi film LimitlessAlthough I’m quite loquacious here about what happens in Limitless, I am not revealing everything. You can still enjoy watching Limitless and encounter numerous surprises, even after reading this post about the exciting, smart drug-centered science fiction film; I’ve carefully omitted plenty of choice details about the movie, which I believe you will soon add to your list of movies to catch in the near future…

Plot summary of Limitless (2011): Limitless is a sci-fi thriller about Eddie Morra (Bradley Cooper), an out-of-work writer in New York City whose rejection by his pretty girlfriend Lindy (Australian actress Abbie Cornish) confirms his belief that he’s a loser with no future. But everything changes after he bumps into the brother of his ex-wife, Vernon (Johnny Whitworth), out of the blue; they duck into a social establishment and catch up for a few minutes. After a bit of small talk about the ex, Melissa (Anna Friel), Vern says he’s now working in the pharmaceutical industry. After some obligatory small talk (during which Eddie admits he hasn’t even written a single word of the book he’s supposed to be writing), Vern produces a sample of a drug he says will soon be approved by the FDA. "You know how we’re supposed to have access to only 20% of our brains?" He gives the drug to Eddie, who pops the pill, having nothing left to lose and nothing better to do. Vernon has an appointment elsewhere, so he gives Eddie a business card and they go their separate ways.

That little, clear pill Eddie popped was NZT.

Unbeknownst to Eddie at this point, the clear pill he swallowed was an experimental nootropic pharmacological agent: a designer "smart drug" that boosts brainpower and allows laser-like mental focus and incredible recall.

Limitless: Official movie trailer (YouTube)

The first hint of the drug’s amazing (and highly entertaining!) effect upon Eddie’s mind appears as he returns to his apartment; the landlord’s wife accosts Eddie in the hallway, badgering him for the overdue rent. However, instead of reacting in the manner of the old slacker Eddie Morra, promo - Limitless, 2011 sci-fi filma more charming, helpful, intelligent persona blossoms almost instantly. Rather than descending into argument or making excuses about the late rent money, Eddie cleverly leads her into an enjoyable, keen conversation in which he actually helps her with some on-point academic suggestions, as if God himself were whispering in Eddie’s ear, telling him what to say! Not only is she impressed with the new Eddie, she’s totally turned on: the newly radiant Eddie talks his way into her heart; she gives herself to him.

To Eddie’s astonishment, his poor self-image has completely evaporated; Eddie seems to realize – and care, perhaps for the first time – that his apartment is actually a pig sty. He cleans and straightens his messy digs, then is inspired to work diligently on the book he’s been trying to write for ages. He even types more efficiently now. Bradley Cooper as Eddie Morra - Limitless, 2011 sci-fi film Later that same day, Eddie personally delivers the manuscript to his publisher – who, incidentally, is obviously not expecting much in the way of quality writing. We soon learn through a series of voicemails that the publisher was actually stunned by the high quality of Eddie’s work and could hardly put it down.

Needless to say, the sample pill agreed with Eddie. If this much progress occurred in only a few hours, what would a few days on the smart drug look like? Who wouldn’t want more? Time to look up Vern.

When Eddie manages to find Vernon in an attempt to score, to get his hands on more of this wonderful, shiny drug, things start to go sideways… Suffice to say that Eddie manages to obtain a sizable stash of the incredible, clear, little pills. Eddie soon becomes supremely confident – genuinely charming, and as personable as he’s ever been, on a daily basis. Eddie seems to be at the absolute top of his game; everything goes right. What for most people is the occasional experience of being in a wonderful mood – blissfully, naturally high on life – the best mood imaginable – has become Eddie Morra’s standard M.O. Greatness is now his normalcy!

Robert De Niro as Carl Van Loon - Limitless, 2011 sci-fi filmAs Eddie evolves into a near-perfect version of himself, he attracts some unwanted attention – first by becoming a highly successful investor and day trader virtually overnight. After proving to himself that his financial and investment wizardry is real through consistently impressive gains, he decides to borrow funds from a questionable source.

Soon thereafter, Eddie lets the wrong person in on the smart drug: Gennady, a Russian loan shark and thug (Andrew Howard). Soon, various corrupt forces are pursuing him, including a man in the tan coat (Tomas Arana) who keeps appearing around Eddie, seemingly out of nowhere.

Now on an NZT-fuelled odyssey, everything Eddie has ever read, seen, or heard is organized in his perfectly tuned mind, available to him via his new and improved mental ability of recall. As the former nobody continues to rise to the top and begins to influence and impress important people who comprise high society, Eddie draws the attention of wealthy investor and business mogul Carl Van Loon (Robert De Niro).

Limitless, 2011 sci-fi film - NZT pillsUnfortunately, NZT withdrawal produces some brutal side effects which threaten to stall his meteoric ascent. Whenever Eddie runs out of pills (or is otherwise unable to take a dose when he needs it), the symptoms are severe – not unlike a withdrawal from strong opiates or pain killers: he can’t cope and becomes ill. With a dwindling stash of NZT and mysterious hit men who will do damn near anything to get their hands on his pills, movie still - Limitless, 2011 sci-fi filmEddie must maintain long enough to elude the thugs, impress high society, and fulfill his destiny. Without the pills, he will revert back to being the loser version of Eddie Morra – becoming just another average lump who thought he’d found invincibility in a bottle.

My thoughts about Limitless (2011 sci-fi film)

Verdict: A highly entertaining and wild ride, I found Limitless to be even a bit motivational!

Limitless: Movie review by Jonathan Kim (YouTube)

Resources: Limitless, 2011 sci-fi film

Abbie Cornish as girlfriend Lindy - Limitless, 2011 sci-fi film

Resources: Limitless movie reviews

promo - Limitless, 2011 sci-fi film
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…takes an experimental drug that essentially rewires his brain, allowing Eddie to use 100 percent of his mind… NZT is essentially “Be all that you can be” in pill form.

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