Rated 4.0

A strung-out would-be writer (Bradley Cooper) gets his hands on a mysterious drug that sharpens the faculties and focuses the mind to a miraculous degree; soon he’s being hailed and courted as a literary and financial genius, attracting the attention of a high-rolling tycoon (Robert De Niro) and becoming hounded by shadowy, ruthless pursuers who seem to know his secret—or is he just imagining them? Written by Leslie Dixon (from Alan Glynn’s novel) and directed at a delirious breakneck pace by Neil Burger, the movie is a heady and exhilarating ride into the hero’s restless mind with a tour de force performance by Cooper, and a potent parable about the risks of playing with fire. Abbie Cornish plays Cooper’s girlfriend, with Anna Friel as his ex-wife, who wrecked her life dabbling with the same drug.