Just Read: The Dark Fields (Limitless)


The Dark Fields (Limitless)

by Leslie Dixon

Draft Dated: July 12, 2006

Based on the novel by Alan Glynn

Remember that everything I write is my personal opinion, and is (usually) based on an early draft; the plot, characters, and practically anything and everything in this draft could be changed, or will change, before the movie comes out.

The Dark Fields is about a complete loser named Eddie Spinola.  He’s a writer that has hit rock bottom, and is headed nowhere fast. He lives in a shitty apartment in NYC, and is barely holding his life together. One day, Eddie bumps into Vernon, his ex brother-in-law (a.k.a. his ex-drug dealer) who gives him a miracle drug. OH SNAP!  Now Eddie is going a million miles per second. This drug turns him into the smartest, funniest, and coolest guy in the room. Unfortunately, this drug also has some pretty nasty side effects. This story is a fun, exciting, yet dangerous thrill ride, that asks the question – What if there was a miracle drug that could make you the best at everything?

I read The Dark Fields by Alan Glynn a while ago, and I absolutely loved it. Fast paced, page-turning, brain fucking goodness. After finding out that it was being adapted for the big screen (and renamed Limitless) I naturally had to find the screenplay — and I was scared. Far too often has an amazing book been ruined, by the complex necessities of screenplay adaptation.So, did it make the cut, or did it fall into the black, swirling vortex, of “good-book-to-bad-movie” death?

I normally don’t add spoilers to my reviews, but there are some specific issues I felt like talking about —

Leslie Dixon did well! You might recognize her name from movies such as; Look Who’s Talking Now, Mrs. Doubtfire, The Thomas Crown Affair, among others.

Now, the screenplay doesn’t exactly follow the book.  There are extra characters and situations in the screenplay, that are not in the book – but thankfully, none of it hurts the story.  The major points of the story remain intact.

Not only was this screenplay well written, but it also addressed (and improved, in my opinion) the only issue I had with the book.  I never liked the way the book ended.  Originally in the end, after one HELL of a pharmaceutically-induced roller coaster ride, our hero – THE Eddie Spinola, just runs out of pills and dies in a seedy hotel room. It was kind of anticlimactic. I was hoping the end would have left us with Eddie getting a new sack of pills, and doing something crazy or end with him high as crap, gaining even more power in life!

Personally, I believe that Leslie Dixon’s screenplay addresses this ending quite well. Instead of having Eddie run out of pills, and complacently accept death in a cheap hotel, it ends with him as a fucking Senator, well on his way to becoming even more rich and powerful! — Plus, there seems to be a certain “pharmaceutical company” contributing heavily to Senator Spinola’s campaign. Add Bradley Cooper and Robert-freaking-De Niro into the mix, and I’m starting to get excited.  The only dumb part in the screenplay had to do with a cut-off hand and a middle finger. You’ll know what I’m talking about if you read the screenplay. It will be interesting to see if that makes it into the movie.  It really was stupid.

THE GOOD

  • The screenplay keeps the overall theme intact, staying true to the dark, fast-paced atmosphere.
  • The writer fixed the ending, which would have definitely pissed off the average moviegoers.
  • Amazingly, the writer was able to take a really great book, and adapted it into a pretty good screenplay – only changing/adding a few situations and characters – and didn’t fuck it up!

THE BAD

  • Honestly, without rereading the book or screenplay, all over again, the only bad scene I remember is the dumb, cut-off hand in the vault.

THE VERDICT

I recommend reading the book, reading the screenplay, and going to see the movie when it comes out.  In whatever order you chose to do them in. I can only vouch for the book and the screenplay, though. If you don’t read books then shame on you.  I cannot share scripts on this site out of fear of being sued, but if you place your email in the comments section, there is really nothing I can do if another reader decides to send it to you.

What do you think? Good script? Good movie? Good book?

You can discuss and review the movie in detail here.

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