We are told we use only a small portion of our minds. We apparently have enough left over to easily beat a computer at "Jeopardy." I’m Bill Kurtis for Roger Ebert. In the new thriller “LIMITLESS” Bradley Cooper plays a failed writer who takes a mysterious pill and writes a best-seller overnight. Then he goes on to make a fortune on Wall Street.
He got his magic pill from his ex-brother-in-law, who is soon murdered. He raises investment money from a mob loan shark who puts pressure on him for more pills. It becomes clear that the pill is not a miracle of modern science but a narcotic with dangerous side-effects, and he begins to lose track of time.
Robert De Niro plays a powerful billionaire who wants to do business with the young genius. As always, he brings along a powerful screen presence, but the screenplay loses an opportunity to make him more devious.
“LIMITLESS” is an entertaining movie that could have been better. For example, it could have done a better job of exploring the implications if we gained full control of our brains. Shouldn't that involve more than murder, bad guys and Wall Street manipulation? The premise is challenging, but it leads to some fairly predictable places. This is one of those movies where you want to give it "thumbs up," but it doesn't quite get the job done.