Struggling author Eddie Morra (Bradley Cooper) has just been dumped by his girlfriend Lindy (Abbie Cornish) and has a crippling case of writer's block. So the floundering New Yorker figures he has nothing to lose when his former brother-in-law Vernon (Johnny Whitworth) offers him a revolutionary new drug that promises to unlock his full potential. With Vernon assuring him that humans usually use just 20 per cent of their brains, Eddie pops the pill (known as NZT) and finds he's able to access parts of his mind he never knew existed.
In a short space of time, Eddie manages to master Italian, finish his book, overhaul his slobbish appearance and make a killing on the stock market.
His whirlwind success attracts the attention of businessman Carl Van Loon (Robert De Niro) who wants to use Eddie's talents, but his rapid rise soon sways off course as dangerous side effects take hold.
Cooper is perfectly cast in this intriguing thriller based on the 2001 novel The Dark Fields by Alan Glynn. The Hangover star displays great leading-man charisma, and receives strong support from De Niro and Cornish, as well as Anna Friel as Eddie's drug-addled ex-wife.
Director Neil Burger experiments effectively with visual techniques and keeps the action fast-paced and lean throughout, making Limitless a stylish, entertaining and thoroughly enjoyable ride