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Monday, 18 April 2011

Limited IQ at "Limitless"

It has been some time since I have experienced annoying, moronic behaviour at the cinema, but when you're going to enjoy movies at the Empire in Basildon your luck only lasts so long, and tonight mine ran out.  You would think, with it being a week evening we might be free of the kids but no, there they were, a group of the little darlings, with the bodies to get in to a certificate 15 but certainly not the minds, in our seats when we arrived.  A fairly empty screen, so we weren't too bothered about just sitting the other end of the row and avoiding what would only be inevitable hassle, but it was a precursor for what was lying ahead; belching and snide comments through the trailers, and as the film begins, more chit-chat.  You wouldn't mind so much if it was a buzz of excitement which they struggled to keep contained, but it wasn't even that; it was simply an inability to recognise and adhere to a social courtesy that dicatates, when the lights go down and the BBFC certificate is displayed, it is your cue to shut the fuck up.  Perhaps it is the relatively empty screen that makes them feel they can treat the place like their living room.

In any case, the film starts and the boy hasn't put his phone away, nor does he for the entire movie; not entirely sure why you pay for a ticket to sit in a cinema screen and text people the whole time....any thoughts?  As for the farting sounds, the rasberry blowing, the rocking of seats and the banging of your feet against the premium seat barricade, where the hell do you think you are?  More to the point, why are you here?  You've paid to watch a film, so please do so; if you don't like what you're seeing, leave, but stop ruining the experience for other people.  Then we have the shouting out and telling other people in the theatre, "that isn't funny"; who are you to tell anyone else their reaction to a film, and what's more, in case I didn't mention it before....shut up!!  What stops us complaining?  Well the lack of frequency these things happen and being too engaged with what is going on up there, on the screen, the thing they seem to be ignoring.  That said, once is too much and it wouldn't have taken a great deal more for somebody to have said or done something about it.

Rant over.  What did we see?  Answer's in the entry title.  A generally very arresting film with a surprising turn from Bradley Cooper, who shows he can carry a film quite nicely.  It has some thought behind it, and despite a couple of little holes I found myself picking at, and despite it feeling a tad overlong and dragging a bit in the middle, it was a great cinema experience.  And it has to be a cinema experience...see this film once at the cinema; it uses on a few occasions a technique that harkens back to Hitchcock, who I believe was the first filmmaker to use it at all.  I can sincerely say that I have not seen it used to such great effect before; in fact, speaking of Hitch, if you suffer vertigo, approach with caution.......See what I did there? ;)  The film's opening credits bring to mind "Fight Club", the film starts similarly to "Fight Club", it has the same sort of pacing as "Fight Club", a similar use of soundtrack as "Fight Club", and the narration style is akin to "Fight Club".......fair to say it reminded me of "Fight Club".

There has been a little talk about it having competition in "Source Code", the other hip thriller and second film from Duncan Jones ("Moon"), which I talked about in my last entry.  So, how do they compare?  Well, not that I am one for comparing different films, because I believe a film stands alone, and standing alone both movies are very good, but see my breakdown below:

Both films are far fetched; "Source Code" is a sci-fi with the same fundamental flaw as "Terminator", but if you accept it as it's presented, much like "Inception", the science is well laid  out.  "Limitless" falls a little flat and after providing you the basic idea, doesn't bother explaining any science.  You could argue it doesn't need to, but it does do that "we only use so much of our brain" thing, which is a little gripe of mine.

Cooper proves himself, but Gyllenhaal remains the better lead man in general

"Limitless" is the better-looking film, playing with the saturation of the photography and putting some creative trick shots to very good use.

"Limitless" wins, hands down.

"Source Code" is more precise in its writing, and has an almost perfect pace; "Limitless" is more broad, fun, less consequential, and could have done with a little trimming.      

My Lasting Impression: 
I enjoyed both films, but where "Limitless" was fun, exciting, and certainly more cinematic, "Source Code" left me with more to think about as I walked out, and was ultimately the slightly more intellectually satisfying movie.

Limitless: 8/10                                     


  1. I agree totally! I never thought Bradley Cooper could carry a film, even for 2 minutes. But he proves himself a decent leading man, so hopefully he'll chose more films which showcase his talent! I found the film very trippy, it actually made me feel as though i was on drugs at one point lol.