Limitless is a 2011 American thriller film directed by Neil Burger and starring Bradley Cooper, Abbie Cornish, and Robert De Niro. It is based on the novel The Dark Fields by Alan Glynn. The film is followed by a 2015 television series of the same name.
Eddie Morra (Bradley Cooper), a struggling author suffering from writer's block, living in New York, is stressed by an approaching deadline. His girlfriend Lindy (Abbie Cornish), frustrated with his lack of progress and financial dependence, breaks up with him. Later, Eddie happens to run into Vernon (Johnny Whitworth), the estranged brother of Eddie's ex-wife, Melissa (Anna Friel). Vernon, involved with a pharmaceutical company, gives Eddie a sample of a new "smart drug", NZT-48. After taking the pill, Eddie finds himself able to learn and analyze at a superhuman rate and recall memories from his distant past, with the only apparent side effect being a change in the color of Eddie's irises while on the drug—his eyes becoming an intense shade of electric blue. Under the influence, he cleans his messy apartment and writes ninety pages of his book. The next day, the effects having worn off, he seeks out Vernon in an attempt to get more. While Eddie is out running an errand, Vernon is murdered. Eddie returns, calls the police and then discovers Vernon's NZT stash just before they arrive, taking it for himself. After giving a statement at the precinct, Eddie returns home and begins ingesting the drug daily. With the help of the drug's amazing effects, Eddie spends a few weeks cleaning up his life—finishing his book, getting fit, and making friends with a group of young jet-setters, who take him on vacation to Europe, where he mingles with the rich. During all this, Eddie tests out his enhanced learning abilities; he becomes a proficient piano player in just three days, as well as becoming fluent in several languages.