DVD Rating: ***1/2

Reviewed by: Anton Bitel

Read Amber Wilkinson's film review of Limitless

"The idea", of Limitless, asserts director Neil Burger, "was to use anything to tell his [ie protagonist Eddie Morra's] story". Certainly the full audio commentary on "this Faustian story... about intelligence and power" is at its most interesting when Burger is detailing the full range of visual and cinematographic effects deployed to portray Eddie's perspective as it shifts from loser Eddie to drug-enhanced Eddie to fully wired Eddie to come-down Eddie to Eddie in withdrawal. "I wanted these visual effects to feel very organic," says Burger (convincingly) of his use of various lenses, colour grades and framing, not to mention the the arresting fractal and infinite zooms, 360º perspectives, solarised imagery and other CG interventions.

Less interesting are his occasional slippages into reciting plot points and telling us what we can see for ourselves – but he is illuminating on the places where the screenplay varies from Alan Glynn's source book The Dark Fields. There are also hints of a rather different film that might have been, with Burger pointing out which scenes of sex and violence had to be cut down (and, in some cases, out altogether) to gain the film its American PG-13 rating. He also indicates that the film's final confrontation between Eddie (Bradley Cooper) and Carl Van Loon (Robert De Niro) resulted from a rewrite and a winter reshoot – and for anyone curious to see the original, rather bleaker conclusion to this "fable without an easy moral at the end", it is included as an extra here, and is well worth checking out.

Copy picture

Besides these and a trailer, there are also two short-and-sweet featurettes. A Man Without Limits is a four-minute focus on Bradley Cooper, whose broad-ranging turn as Eddie forms the core of the film. Taking It To The Limit: The Making Of Limitless is an 11-minute montage of cast-and-crew soundbites whose breathless pace actually matches the 'roller coaster' speed of the film that it celebrates. Screenwriter Leslie Dixon reveals that she optioned Glynn's novel with her own money after discovering it in a second-hand bookstore, DP Jo Willems discusses the challenges of having to shoot 'subjective photography' using different film stocks on New York's streets on a very short schedule, and everyone sings the praises of Bradley Cooper, who evidently did all his own stunts save the high-dive from a cliff into the ocean.

Overall, this is a decent package for an unusual and visually striking film.

Reviewed on: 01 Aug 2011
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Limitless packshot
A struggling writer finds himself on the up after getting hold of a drug that lets him access 100 per cent of his brain power.
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Product Code: MP1120D

Region: 2

Ratio: 2.35:1

Sound: 5.1 Surround Sound

Extras: Director's audio commentary, A Man Without Limits featurette, Taking It To The Limit: The Making Of Limitless, Alternate Ending, Original Theatrical Trailer

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