Limitless is a film with so much going for it. Great plot, interesting camera techniques and shots and the acting isn’t half bad. So then why has it not reached the perpetual level of film greatness? This film has it all and yet is missing the key ingredient to bind all these elements together. And what is this key ingredient you ask? Well it’s not ‘Chemical X’ (sorry for the power puff girl’s analogy) or anything complicated for that matter. All this film is missing is an ending. Of course Limitless has an ending, but I mean a ‘real’ ending, one of substantial relevance that would pack a punch and catch the viewer off guard. I have my own ideas for an alternative ending, but we’ll come to that later.
Limitless is basically about a struggling writer (which is apt as the film is based on a book) who takes some magical pills that allows him to access inconceivable super human brain power. And thus he becomes an overnight success, finishing his book in less than a week and instantly becoming a dab hand at anything he puts his mind to. But with great power comes great responsibility, oh wait no, that’s Spiderman. But Uncle Ben does have a point. Eddie Mora (Bradley Cooper) does inherit great responsibility. His newly acquired powers are put to the test against formidable foe’s including loan sharks, a mysterious stalker, the financial tycoon Carl Van Loon (Robert De Niro) and the drugs devastating side effects. And thus marks the start of Eddie’s drug induced, action packed rise to greatness. This of course brings us on to the ending.
The final scene takes place ten years later where we see that the main character has become a senator and is running for president courtesy of those mighty little tablets. Eddie appears to be a new man, stereotypically presidential looking. He comes face to face with Van Loon who has now solved the riddle regarding Eddie’s unexplainable intelligence. Van Loon has bought out the labs which produce the ‘pill of limitless power’ or NZT as it’s called in the film meaning that Eddie would be from here on indebted to Carl Van Loon. If I was directing this film the end credits would begin rolling at this point. But as I am not director the film plays on. We see that Eddie no longer needs NZT. And thus he no longer needs Van Loon. The end credits instead roll after a victorious Eddie passes an un-subtitled joke with a Chinese waiter.
Reasons for my ending
Personally I feel that an ending with Eddie forever more being in the pocket of Van Loon would have been far more interesting. It would have passed criticism on the American presidential process showing how major corporations fund puppet like president’s ascension into the White House. Only in this case NZT would symbolise money. We would see that even with super brains, it is still possible to be lured into the pitfalls of greed. This sort of shock and awe finale could have propelled this film towards greatness. Instead the director opted for the safe option of creating a superhero impervious to evil.
Don’t get me wrong, this is not a negative review. This is a truly entertaining film which I enjoyed. My only problem lies with the ending. Bradley Cooper plays a great character who undergoes many transformations. However I did feel that De Niro’s character was laboured, but this may have been down to scripting. Limitless as a whole, is an interesting and entertaining film with a great conceptual plot.