First Hit: The concept is very interesting and the execution was a little uneven.
The opening camera sequence is one long camera moving shot which travels down streets, through cars through signs, walls and finally into a brain where we see a rendition of a brain cell firing.
This opening sequence provides a great foundation as to the speed and vision in which this film is going to move. Eddie Morra (played by Bradley Cooper) is attempting to be a writer, has some great ideas, has an advance, but cannot get anything on to paper.
He’s depressed, looks almost homeless in appearance, and in an opening scene his girlfriend Lindy (played by Abbie Cornish) is dumping him because the relationship is no longer working. He runs into his former drug dealing brother in-law Vernon (played by Johnny Whitworth) who turns him on to a pill. He says this pill will allow him to use 100% of his brain instead of the 10% we normally use.
In a fit of depression and hopelessness he takes the pill. In a matter of 30 minutes he starts being everything he can be. Writes most of his book, cleans his house, and gets his act together. The next day he feels the way he felt before he took the pill so he seeks out Vernon for more pills. Vernon sends him on an errand and when Eddie returns Vernon is dead and his apartment is trashed out because someone was looking for something, the pills.
Eddie figures out where the pills are and takes them. He begins taking them regularly and becomes an innovative investor. He ends up getting the attention of a powerful investor named Carl Van Loon (played by Robert De Niro).
Van Loon has him assist in creating a takeover deal of a financial rival who, as we discover, is also using the pills but has run out. The pills have a side-effect which includes physical debilitation, reverting to a prior limited way of thinking, and death.
Cooper is very good as Morra. He has the ability to come off as very intelligent as well as grounded at the same time. Cornish has a limited role but is solid as Eddie’s girlfriend. De Niro is pretty good as the high level financier who gives Eddie a chance for success. Leslie Dixon wrote the screen play and although it was overdone at times, it worked in the end. Neil Burger directed this film with some effective shots however, at times it felt a little lost and could have been tightened up.
Overall: Conceptually this was a very good film and in execution it was good but not great.