The trailer below sets up the simple premise of Limitless: Bradley Cooper is a struggling writer until he gets a Magic Pill that unlocks 1000% of his mental ability, leading to instant fame and riches and he lives happily ever after. The end.
Just kidding. It all has a downside, like it's a question of whether the drug will kill him before the people who want what he has do? Will he survive the wide open world that chemicals can provide him?
While it's a simple concept and the overall plot doesn't really go to unexpected places, what Limitless does is tell its potentially overly familiar tale with blazing style and momentum thanks to a tight, snappy adapted script by Leslie Dixon (whose CV has some really good AND awful movies on it) and some flashy direction by Neil Burger (The Illusionist) which puts us in the head of Brad as he's seeing the world thru drug-enhanced eyes. While some of the visual details are cribbed from Fight Club, it works.
Cooper is excellent, but it helps when you're handsome with piercing blue eyes, so screw him. (Figuratively.) Abbie Cornish (seen just four nights ago in Sucker Punch) looks like a plumper Charlize Theron and it really bespeaks how lame Robert De Niro has been for quite a while when you've got to praise him for merely making an effort, not that he's also good here.
While Limitless isn't flawless - a subplot with a loan shark shouldn't have happened and a death is never explained properly - it is quite a rush which will leave you satisfied and entertained. This is the first movie of 2011 that I can recommend dropping the full ticket price on. (No refunds to dissatisfied customers!)
Score: 9/10. Pay full price at the theater.
If you watch this again after seeing it, you'll notice a few lines that are changed or don't happen in the actual movie.