Bradley Cooper is the actor who plays the main character Eddie Morra. Eddie is a down-on-his-luck writer that can't get a regular job but he does have a book deal. The only problem is he cannot even start the book. He has burned through his advance and does not yet have a single thing written on paper. The book publishing company wants to see some progress or they want their money back. His girlfriend Lindy (played by Abby Cornish) is sick of his procrastination. She dumps him. Eddie wanders the streets of New York in a funk. He runs into his friend Vernon (played by Johnny Whitworth) that was married to his sister before they got divorced. Vernon works for a pharmaceutical company that has experimental drugs. Vernon gives Eddie a pill. He tells him this pill will make everything all right.
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On the way back to his apartment Eddie is confronted by the landlady about the past due rent. Instead of falling apart, he instinctively knows what to say to her and what to do to calm her down. She lets him slide on the rent and even has casual sex with him instead, that they both enjoy. When Eddie gets back to his own apartment he is inspired to write. He spends all night typing the bulk of a new manuscript. By the morning hundreds of pages are finished. They are perfect. He gives it to the book publisher. They are ecstatic about it. Before this he was lying to them, telling them it was almost finished. Even he cannot believe he was able to write so much of a masterpiece in a single night. Obviously it has to be the drug that caused this ability.
Eddie seeks out Vernon to get more of the drug. He finds Vernon in his apartment looking beat up. Vernon tells him about the drug and that it allows Eddie to use 100% of his brain. He asks Eddie to go get food. To his shock, when Eddie returns from getting the Chinese food, he finds Vernon dead in the apartment. The place has been ransacked. Eddie calls the police. Before they arrive, he gets inspired to look for more of the drug just in case the thieves missed the stash. He finds a huge cache of the drug, with money and a notebook with contact names in it, all stuffed in the oven which he barely hides from the police just as they arrive. They believe his story about the break-in and robbery. They let him go.
When Eddie gets home he takes more of the drug. This allows him to learn things very quickly as well as to finish his book in a matter of a few days. He becomes like a superman. When he needs money he takes a loan of a hundred thousand dollars from the mafia. He rapidly turns the loan into two million dollars by day trading. His success as a day trader brings him to the attention of a powerful businessman Carl Van Loon (played by Robert De Niro). Carl hires him because he wants to find out how he does it. Eddie let's it slip that his superior thinking skills are caused by a drug he takes.
Eddie starts to experience side effects of the drug, like losing track of time and not remembering what he did. He goes out with a blonde woman and the next day sees on the news she was killed. He remembers being with her but not if he killed her. Then he runs out of the drug. When he has no more of the drug, his special abilities cease, so he is desperate to find more. He calls all the people in Vernon's notebook but runs into dead ends. He goes to see his sister that was married to Vernon. She is a burned-out mess. She tells him she took the drug but finally had to stop because people taking it were dying. She tells him to do the same.
The mafia guy that Eddie owes money finds out about the drug. He gets some from Eddie then immediately wants more. Eddie hires a guy to reverse engineer the drug but that process takes six months. In the meantime he runs out, so the mafia come to kill him. He has one pill left but loses it to the mafia guy who immediately takes it. The only way Eddie can get out of this situation is to kill the guy and drink some of his spilled blood to get some of the drug from the blood, which he does. Later Eddie is a very successful business man and Carl tries to black mail him using the drug, since Carl figures it all out, but Eddie has already been able to out think Carl and does not need the drug anymore.
Best part of story, including ending:
The enhancements caused by the drug are so fantastic that people are willing to risk their lives and kill for it.
Best scene in story:
In the park, when Eddie's girlfriend is being attacked, she is cornered. Eddie encourages her to take the drug which she does reluctantly. This allows her to be able to calculate a way to escape from her pursuers.
Opinion about the main character:
Once he is hooked on the drug there is no turning back.