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Without much fanfare Neil Burger has emerged as one of the best suspense directors in the business, and the irony of this accomplishment is that his thrillers (Interview With the Assassin, The Illusionist) resort to very little fanfare themselves: in an era of loud, frantic aerobic workouts like Salt and the Bourne franchise, Burger builds suspense the old-fashioned way, through meticulously clean and careful plotting. The protagonist of this little gem is a ratty would-be novelist (Bradley Cooper of The Hangover) who gets his hands on a neuro-enhancing wonder drug and begins to access 100 percent of his brain capacity; after dashing off a best seller, he turns his dazzling mental powers to the stock market and comes to the attention of a scheming corporate titan (Robert De Niro). Some might call this movie a step backward after Burger's previous feature, the painfully honest Iraq war drama The Lucky Ones, but as a stylish intrigue it's hard to beat. With Abbie Cornish. PG-13, 106 min.  Century 12 and CineArts 6, Crown Village 18, Davis, Gardens 7-13, New 400, Niles Showplace 12, Norridge, Showplace ICON, Webster Place —J.R. Jones

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Official Site:

Director: Neil Burger

Producer: Leslie Dixon, Scott Kroopf, Ryan Kavanaugh, Tucker Tooley and Bradley Cooper

Cast: Bradley Cooper, Robert De Niro, Abbie Cornish, Anna Friel, Andrew Howard, Johnny Whitworth, Tomas Arana, Robert Burke, Darren Goldstein, Ned Eisenberg, T.V. Carpio, Richard Bekins, Patricia Kalember, Cindy Katz and Brian A. Wilson