If you are looking for some good and inexpensive entertainment this weekend be sure to rent Limitless and/or Source Code. Both are well written movies with twists and turns, lots of action, and thought-provoking moral issues at their core.
Limitless opens with smartly dressed Bradley Cooper wavering atop a high rise balcony, one foot over the edge, and bad guys breaking down the door. Suddenly there is a flash back to a long-haired, bearded, disheveled Cooper so pathetic his girl friend leaves him as he lamely struggles to meet his publisher’s deadline on a book he hasn’t even started. While aimlessly wandering the streets of New York City Cooper’s character, Eddie Morra, runs into the brother of his ex-wife who is a drug dealer. He gives Eddie a sample of a new drug called NZT-48 that promises to enhance his brain power to 100% as opposed to the normal 20%.
Eddie takes the pill and is propelled into a world of limitless knowledge, capabilities, and energy. He finishes his book and then returns to ex brother-in-law’s apartment for more pills but finds him murdered. Eddie calls the police but also finds the hidden stash of NZT-48 and mucho moola. Eddie uses the money to establish a new life for himself and begins trading stocks. He soon attracts the attention of Carl Van Loon played by Robert DeNiro, a very rich, powerful, and cut-throat businessman. As Eddie becomes more entangled in the business world he is also getting more wrapped up in the miracle drug. He learns it has dangerous side effects causing lost periods of time, hyper activity, and eventually death. The pace of the movie becomes more and more frantic until it comes to a chaotic climax.
Limitless is very entertaining and leaves you asking yourself, “What would I do if I could take a pill and achieve fame and fortune?” Is it worth the risk?
Source Code also asks some thought-provoking questions, however, the main character, Colter Stevens played by Jake Gyllenhaal, is in a scenario not of his choosing. Stevens, an Army helicopter pilot, awakens inside a cockpit and hears a voice verifying his identity. The voice, Air Force Captain Colleen Goodwin, explains he is inside the Source Code, an experimental device that allows its user to experience the last eight minutes of a person’s life within an alternate timeline. His mission is to use the source code to discover the location of a bomb on board a train and who is responsible for it. She explains that the train exploded that morning as a warning that there is also a hidden dirty bomb ready to detonate and destroy most of Chicago. His mission will save millions of lives.
Stevens is propelled through the source code many times until he accomplishes his mission but we also discover during the journey things aren’t as they seem. I don’t want to give away any more of the plot here but at the end we find there are many questions involving the sanctity of life, meaning of love for life and family, and the dilemma of whether or not to obey orders.
Both films are action packed with good plot and character development. They also cause you to think, which I always feel is an added bonus to an entertaining movie. I give both movies an A-.
Do you ever feel your life is not your own? That you are just plodding through a maze someone predesigned and placed you on leaving you to wander down streets and through doors your whole life. If so, then beware of men in hats, especially those looking as if they just walked off the set of Mad Men. In fact, one of the actors did—John Salttery who plays Roger Sterling.
The Adjustment Bureau is a love story and a thriller and leaves you pondering the old discussions of predestination. It hooks you at the beginning and forces you to run the maze with Matt Damon and Emily Blunt; but that is OK because they are pleasant companions on this journey and their chemistry is very believable. You are rooting for them all the way, even if you don’t know the full story. Around every corner is a well-dressed man wearing a hat and carrying a book full of charts and graphs with a small symbol that mysteriously moves about the page. Who are these men?
The Adjustment Bureau has all the elements of a good popcorn movie—mystery, romance, adventure, and a good chase. Thankfully, it does not have any gore and killings. In addition, it leaves you to examine your beliefs of fate versus free will. In other words, it is an action movie with a love story that makes you think.
I loved the movie so I will take out my teacher’s red pen and give it a B+.