Thursday, April 07, 2011

Episode 927: Limitless

Met Annie and Kathy on campus for coffee in Curiositea. Campus is nice when there's less people around! Didn't get much reading done at all before I had to get the bus to the Odeon in Coventry, where we (plus Owen) saw Limitless. Got the W1, which is one of the new bus services introduced by Warwick in partnership with Travel de Courcey, and staff and students travel for free until June. I just found out, incidentally, that the film is based on Alan Glynn's The Dark Fields, which is a book that I remember wanting to read a couple of years ago. Have ordered it now, together with Glynn's second novel, Winterland. Faber and Faber publish him, so the novels should have a certain quality. Anyway, I thought the film was refreshing, especially in terms of its cinematography. It felt like hyperkinetic pop art at times, especially in the way it conveyed the effects of the designer drug on perception. Good use of colour palettes as well. I only have two complaints, and they're both to do with Bradley Cooper. Firstly, did he absolutely have to look like the stereotypical 'artistic' figure at the beginning, with his messy hair and trashed up apartment? It's like they needed visual shorthand for 'This guy is a writer.' Plus in general, Cooper looks way better once he's been tidied up. Secondly, Cooper could get his French and Italian accents right, but he couldn't work on his Mandarin? Maybe they thought they could get away with it because American audiences probably wouldn't catch on as long as he sounded like he was speaking Mandarin properly.

By the way, it was nice seeing Abbie Cornish in a film again, although her role like everyone else's, even Robert De Niro's, felt completely peripheral to Cooper's, as the film generally does resort to stock plotting. I suppose that has more to do with its source material though, which was written as a techno-thriller, and therefore does have to conform to some extent to particular plot structures. The questions the film raises are interesting though. Would you essentially hack your brain if you could? Cooper's character appears to evade the consequences, following the one-year jump late in the film, so why not take the drug? Arguably, he ultimately didn't hurt anyone who didn't somehow deserve it, although we all felt it was problematic that it was never established if he'd actually killed the girl in the hotel room or not. Perhaps more importantly, why didn't he just figure out how to synthesise the drug himself? Surely he could have done that, alongside figuring out the financial markets. Or at least given the drug to the guy he paid to synthesise it for him. That would have worked as well, right? I liked the ending though, I suppose. I would have been really disappointed if they resorted to a finish where justice was served. The moral ambiguity they went with was definitely more interesting.

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