Limitless stars Bradley Cooper as a struggling writer that stumbles upon a pill that can give him unlimited potential.  But Bradley quickly gets more than he bargained for as his new life and the side effects of the pill threaten to destroy his life.

Based on a novel called The Dark Fields, Eddie (Bradley Cooper) is meandering through life.  He’s blown one marriage and his girlfriend dumps him.  But a chance meeting on a street with his ex-brother-in-law introduces him to a new drug called.  When Eddie takes it, it gives him the ability to sort and recall any piece of information he’s ever known.  He’s quickly able to outsmart anyone, learn whole languages in days and finish his novel brilliantly in just four.

I guess I really like the premise of this story and probably like it even more that the main character is a writer.  But after reading the ending of the novel on Wikipedia, I can almost see the moment where the movie producers decided to change things.  (spoilers ahead)

Eddie decides he needs money to “change the world”, but can’t raise the capital fast enough, even trading day stock with his little stash.  Right there, I knew things were going wrong.  If Eddie can turn $800 into $12,000 in days, then he can turn $12,000 into $180,000 and that into $2.7 million.

Instead he borrows money from a loan shark to speed the process.  This works, but only about as well as the formula above AND, he, of course, forgets to pay the shark back.  Pretty stupid.

Eddie soon attracts the attention of a big brokerage firm run by Robert DeNiro’s character.  DeNiro, for once, plays a supporting role, which is kind of cool for him.  Big name like that could’ve easily insisted more of the movie be about him.

Long story short, side effects start to ruin Eddie’s groove and he finds out that other users died from using the drug.  The tone is decidedly dark, until the last scene of the movie.  That almost ruins it.  Not completely, but pretty close.  It feels a lot like the movie makers tacked on a happy ending.

Too bad.  As a friend of mine said, it felt a lot like a Twilight Zone episode.  The movie works despite itself and the cast is solid.  One of the intriguing aspects of the concept is the idea (said by the missus) of everyone having a “different kind” of intelligence.  Eddie’s girlfriend must take the pill to escape the bad guys and at least one other character gets it.

I think it would’ve been more interesting to explore these avenues and let the characters burn out and fade away.  That’s kind of closer to the end of the novel.  Guess it didn’t test well.  Still, up until that moment, it’s a pretty good movie.  Definitely worth renting.  Going to the theater?  Well, it could go either way.

I give Limitless 6.5 keggers out of 10.  I hope they include the original ending on the DVD if they shot another. Those local to yours truly, they shot a lot of this in Philadelphia, but made it look like New York.