Limitless: The Brain-Doping Movie We All Know Was Inspired by Adderall

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In Limitless, Bradley Cooper plays Eddie Mora, a down-on-his-luck writer struggling to make progress on the novel he's promised to his publisher. Just when things seem like they couldn't get worse for Eddie, he runs into his ex-girlfriend's brother, a sort-of slimy guy who's gotten himself involved in the distribution of a not-yet released cognitive enhancement drug called NZT-48. It is a small, clear, round pill that looks like the rubber traction pads you put under the legs of a chair and after just one dose Eddie has churned out 90 new pages of a very good manuscript.

The more Eddie takes, the more successful he becomes—in all manner of endeavors, from writing to finance to romance (the ex comes back into the picture). But there are a few things about this addictive drug that Eddie wasn't informed of: hallucinations, full hours and days blacking out, a particularly debilitating withdrawal.


About two-thirds the way in, the story becomes so convoluted and outlandish that you can't help but wonder whether film itself was written on some sort of cognitive enhancement binge gone bad. It's not terrible, it's not great... it's mostly a chilling reminder that we live in the future, and the future is tweaking hard. [Netflix]