UK Release date: 23rd March 2011
Watched on Sky+ Sunday 15th January 2012.
PLEASE NOTE: THERE MAY BE SPOILERS IN THIS REVIEW.
When I read about the concept behind this film I must say I was quite intrigued; a pill that could allow access to the parts of the brain we don’t use? Who could resist? Well it didn’t play at my local cinema and so after quite a long wait it finally appeared in the TV listings this week. It had received a bit of a mixed response from the critics but I thought I’d take the plunge anyway. I’ll give you my thoughts after this brief summary.
Eddie Morra is a struggling writer; he has a contract to write a book but is struggling to find inspiration and motivation. By chance he meets his ex-wife’s brother, Vernon, a former drug dealer; he gives him a pill that changes his life. It’s called NZT and it enables him to think faster than ever; he finishes his book in double quick time. When the effects wear off he decides he has to get more. He goes to see Vernon who he finds dead. Searching his apartment he discovers his stash and steals it. Now he can take it every day he soon realises that writing isn’t for him; stocks and shares are the future. Having had some meteoric success in the stock market, he is now in the spotlight of the big boys. Enter Carl Van Loon, a very successful businessman who takes Eddie under his wing. As a side note, Eddie at this point also gets his girlfriend, Lindy, back. About to broker a major deal; Eddie discovers a disturbing side-effect of the drug… I will leave it there or the Spoiler Police (Illegal Drugs Division) will have me banged up for possession.
A very well made film with some neat CGI and camera work which is used to try and illustrate the effect of the drug on Eddie. I also liked the narration; it gave an insight into his thought processes as events unfolded around him. Decent performances all round; Bradley Cooper did a good job as Eddie Morra, Robert De Niro was great (as ever), although never really stretched as Carl Van Loon and Abbie Cornish was decent, if underused, as Lindy. Andrew Howard did a good job as the Russian moneylender Gennady and there was a nice little part for Anna Friel as Eddie’s ex-wife Melissa.
Quite a slick production with some nice touches; not all of them worked, but it’s still a perfectly watchable Sci-Fi/Thriller. As I’ve already said, I did enjoy some of the camera trickery used to illustrate the effect of the drug, in particular the tunnel-like pan straight into the screen, which worked particularly well. There were a few aspects of the plot that didn’t quite work for me, but over all it’s still pretty enjoyable… Recommended.
My score: 7.4/10.
IMDb Score: 7.3/10 (based on 103,342 votes at the time of going to press).
Rotten Tomatoes ‘Tomatometer’ Score: 69/100 (based on 180 reviews counted at the time of going to press).
Rotten Tomatoes ‘Audience’ Score: 73/100 (based on 84,511 user ratings counted at the time of going to press).
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Eddie Morra: Obviously I miscalculated a few things.
Man: [banging door] Eddie! I know you're in there.
Eddie Morra: Why is it that the moment your life exceeds your wildest dreams, the knife appears at your back? Well, I'll tell you one thing... I will never let them touch me.
Eddie Morra: You see that guy? That was me not so long ago. What kind of guy without a drug or alcohol problem looks this way? Only a writer.
Vernon: You know how they say we can only access 20% of our brain?
[Vernon points out the NZT pill on the table]
Vernon: This lets you access all of it.
Carl Van Loon: So, Eddie Morra... And you do know you're a freak? What's your secret?
Eddie Morra: Medication.
Eddie Morra: [parting ways with Carl] You should really be glad about this, because you know, me working for you, you'd end up being my bitch.
(Note: All were working at the time of going to press)
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