Release Date: March 18, 2011
What's It About: Eddie Morra is demotivated, poor, struggling in life and his girlfriend Lindy is threatening to leave him. He receives a helping hand in the form of a mysterious drug that allows him to access 100% of his brain power, giving him incredible mental acuity, concentration, memory and observation skills. His entire perspective on life changes, as do his ambitions, bringing him into contact with some very powerful people.
The Good: Fantastic source material, based on the novel The Dark Fields by Alan Glynn. There's this really trippy camera zooming effect done whenever Eddie hallucinates, and other interesting and impossible zooms and pans that occupy the film every now and then. There are some other interesting visual effects, such as when Eddie tidies up his apartment and he appears in the frame multiple times.
The Bad: NZT-48 does not exist in real life and there is no way a human could utilize their brain at that level of intensity on a semi-permanent level. The film takes great liberties with its subject matter and simplifies highly complex fields of study, such as economics and athletics - for example, Eddie "learns" martial arts simply from remembering watching Enter the Dragon and other martial arts videos.
Best Performance: Robert DeNiro as Carl Van Loon. As the pragmatic, cunning primary antagonist to foil Eddie, Van Loon represents the 'old money' to Eddie's new, depicted as a man who has crawled through the dirt and kissed ass to rise his way to the top, sacrificing many of life's pleasures and rites of passage in the pursuit of wealth and power. DeNiro plays Van Loon with an air of condescension towards Eddie, as though he will never be able to accept what he was able to achieve in such a short span of time.
Should I Watch It: I watch scenes from this film from time to time to motivate me and give me a boost when I want to focus on my jobs. I've always been interested in stories that involve improved mental states in humans, and this film offers a fictionalized account of the kinds of things that would happen if such a thing were to happen to a person. It's a fun hour and a half but the film needs work to even out its tone and pacing. Even if not for the story, check it out for the insane camerawork that takes place!
Post-Credits Scene: No
Similar Films: Lucy (2014), The Butterfly Effect (2004), Transcendence (2014)