Wednesday, 23 March 2011



A clear, unlimited high, 'FFF' approved.

15, 105 Minutes. Starring: Bradley Cooper, Abbie Cornish, Anna Friel & Robert De Niro. Directors: Neil Burger. Screenplay: Leslie Dixon

You may have seen some adverts in your local paper or on your morning commute subway for 'The Clear Pill'. A drug claiming to make you access 100% of your brain all the time, giving you 'Limitless' and I quote "Strength, Superior Intelligence and Memory, and Unbeatable Self-Confidence". The advertisement is even endorsed by man of the moment Bradley Cooper, ('The Hangover') now that's one impressive co-sign. Don't get your hopes up, alas this typical American miracle drug, 'giving you the world, costing you your life' promotion is fake and is part of the campaign for Cooper's new movie 'Limitless'. Still this was a great way of raising awareness for the film. The ad looks so authentic and signature I wouldn't be surprised if it had a 'War Of The Worlds' effect and convinced some people, especially because the posters have little literal reference to the film itself.

Still in this movie Cooper's character Eddie is sold on this faux 'clear pill' (or to be falsely official NZT) which in the reality of the movie allows it's taker to access all of their mind, (confidence, smarts etc.) all of the time. Now I know there's a lot of men out there who would wish they could take a pill to become Bradley Cooper, but not at the start of this picture. Cooper plays a down and out writer who looks more like, well I hate to admit it someone like me then a Hollywood star. He is only one word into his book (hey that's still impressive, it's more then most writers) and even his girlfriend (the lovely Abby Cornish) is losing faith, but then he is given a breakthrough with this groundbreaking drug.

Then he finishes his book, learns how to add up properly, hits the gym, gets a 'classic Phil' haircut, become intelligent, fashionable and cultural (with no need for subtitles), but more importantly goes from a few dollars to a few more zero's at the end of his paychecks. As he goes from zero to hero and ashy to classy it's no doubt that everyone from Robert De Niro to anyone with an ounce of greed wants a piece of his mind...literally. The amazing Kanye West song 'Power' on this films awesome trailer states "How can one man have so much power" and that's a great notion and theme for this movie as Cooper's about to find out the Julius Cesar lesson of power, not the Peter Parker one and the Gordon Gekko lesson of greed.

Based on Alan Glynn's book 'The Dark Files' the more Cooper sees the light the darker this film gets. So as the corruption and consequence begins what unfolds is an absolutely strong, potent, tour de force movie. Even without an A-Team or wolfpack behind him Bradley Cooper can lead a movie virtually by himself. Going from shaggy to clean cut and a sexy Jesus to how he looked in the 'Wedding Crashers' (oh yeah, right?), Cooper goes through every emotion and character change with all his trademark charisma and charm and yes I do have a man crush, but come on.

You don't have to be on something to see clearly that with this innovative, motivating film and the highly anticipated 'The Hangover Part II' (following pure, legendary, modern-day comedy gold) that this will be Bradley Cooper's year once again. There's no medication needed either, this is all Bradley. An A-Lister who's headed to the top of the Hollywood class. Cooper's making all the other leading men follow suit and boot. Robert De Niro also shows that even when looking like he's phoning in a role the legend is still one of the best in the game. The actress in this picture also provide sound support from Abbie Cornish standing by her man to Anna Freil looking a little frail (it's the make-up, I'm not a bitch) but having strength in depth with her acting smarts. No wonder Hollywood snapped her up.

Overall 'Limitless' may not go above the rest but it does go beyond. A real trip. Burger's meaty direction really induces and hooks the audience with it's time lapse, kalidescopic, White Stripes, 'Seven Nation Army' esque triangular effect. From it's simulated graphics to distorted camera angles, the effects of euphoria and paranoia related with the films subjects substance is abused in a way that fashions things in a more cutting edge way then just simply style. Sure it comes down on occasion and could use an extra two doses but it still hits. From Cooper furthering his legend to De Niro lamenting his legacy the acting is complex and not transparent for a genre of this type. Taking inspiration from other movies, all whilst creating a new supply of buzz itself, this slickly directed, smart 'what would you do' film isn't just a volatile mix. It's the perfect prescription. TIM DAVID HARVEY.

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