Brain-boosting sci-fi thriller looks great in hi-def but still lacks a few smarts

Limitless stars Bradley Cooper as failed writer Eddie Mora, whose life is completely turned around when he gets his hands on an experimental drug that boosts his brainpower. Within days he’s not only finished his novel, but also made millions on the stock market and come to the attention of high-powered businessman Carl Van Loon (Robert De Niro). Trouble is, the pills are leaving him with gaps in his memory, one of which might connect him to a murder, and if that’s not enough, there’s also a Russian gangster who wants to get his hands on the wonder drug.

While the plot feels a little like an expanded episode of The Twilight Zone, Limitless ultimately overcomes any plotting problems thanks to its leading man and director. Cooper delivers another of those charismatic performances that show why he’s suddenly one of Hollywood’s hottest stars, meanwhile director Neil Burger employs a plethora of visual tricks and mind-bending images that provide the story with incredible pace and energy.

Picture: After an eye-poppingly vibrant title sequence (that will leave many wondering how they actually pulled it off), Limitless’ AVC 2.40:1 1080p encode comes down to earth with a bump as it settles into a rather drab, real-world palette. But once Eddie pops his first pill in Chapter 4, everything changes. Colours are suddenly much more vibrant, enhanced clarity and sharpness results in some insane amounts of fine detailing, and overall everything looks absolutely incredible. As the film goes on the image yo-yos between the two visual styles, but never falters in delivering each perfectly.
Picture rating: 5/5

Audio: While it never quite manages to surpass the disc’s image quality, this Blu-ray’s DTS-HD MA 5.1 mix does everything that’s asked of it with ease and assurance. The surrounds are often regularly engaged with ambient effects, while dialogue remains tightly pinned to the centre speaker. Some fast car action in the middle of the film gives the mix a chance to really cut loose with some extremely aggressive effects, but that’s not really what the film is about, so you should probably temper your expectations.
Audio rating: 4/5

Extras: This Blu-ray’s extra features are anything but limitless. Only the chat-track by director Neil Burger provides any real substance. Beyond that there’s just a pair of fairly bland featurettes (one of which only just clocks in at four-minutes), the theatrical trailer (the only extra not in hi-def) and a very slightly different alternate ending.
Extras rating: 2/5

We say: While it’s not quite as smart as it thinks it is, this thriller sure looks the part in HD

Momentum Pictures, Region B BD, £20 approx, On sale now