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From the Past

Films on the to-do list

  • Armageddon Time
  • Black Widow
  • Chimes at Midnight
  • The Killing of a Sacred Deer
  • Last Christmas
  • Remember Sunday
  • Shazam! 2
  • Thor: Love and Thunder
  • Spy Guys

Limitless (2011)

Film review: Limitless (2011), directed by Neil Burger

Imagine you’re a bit of a loser, your partner has just dumped you, and you get your hands on a pill that upscales your brain function and intelligence by about a gazillion. Suddenly you’re no longer procrastinating but taking care of your stuff. And because you’re oh so clever you start playing with the stock market, and you do so very, very successfully. Suddenly you have lots of money.

Problem is, the wonder drug might have side effects. Like pissing off the Russian mob, and blacking out – which means you suddenly don’t have an alibi for murder. That sort of thing.

Now imagine if the person who did this wasn’t you, but author Eddie Morra (Bradley Cooper), with the guy who gave you the pill Eddie’s former brother-in-law (Johnny Whitworth), and that the partner that dumped you was Lindy (Abbie Cornish), and you’re set up nicely for the plot of this film.

Also starring Robert De Niro as Carl Van Loon, Anna Friel as Melissa, and Tomas Arana as the stalking man.

That we don’t use more than 10-20% of the brain is a complete misnomer. We do actually use all of it, just not at the same time. While we use around 10-20% at any one time, all 100% gets used eventually – it’s not just dead weight. If we were “firing on all cylinders at once”, our brains would be overloaded, much like a computer running at a constant CPU usage of 100%. It’s not good. (The CPU running at 100% means your computer basically grinds to a halt.)

Aside from that, it’s an interesting premise for a thriller. What if there was a “smart pill” we could take? What would we do now that we were so much more efficient and clever? It’s anyone’s guess, and in there lies the allure. Although, they’d have to fix the formula to get rid of the nasty side effects first.

I thought it was a really good film, both chilling and intriguing at the same time. Anna Friel I really like as an actor, and Bradley Cooper is certainly not unpleasant to look at. And of course there’s also Robert De Niro who always delivers, stellar performer that he is. Solid film, would definitely watch again.

4 out of 5 mergers.


An easily distracted and over-excited introvert who never learns to go to bed at a reasonable time. Enjoys traveling (when there's not a plague on), and taking photos of European architecture. Cares for cats, good coffee and Boardwalk Empire. A child of her time, she did media studies in school and still can't decide what she wants to be when she grows up.

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