He is absolutely on the pill in the end. This isn't some open for interpretation ending like Inception, the truth is clear and simple. Colors become more vivid, his facial expressions more calculated, and his eyes more "awake" when on the drug. All of these are present at the end scene. Still you can say "That's just because he learned from taking NZT!". To defeat that argument, take into consideration the fact that he learned yet another language and talked to the waiter in his native tongue. Sure you can come up with more arguments, but this is just one of those situations where the scriptwriter rushed the ending and made it blatantly obvious that he was still taking NZT.
As for the interpretation for the movie, I believe there are some real world implications. As an ex long time user of adderall, I can attest that mentioned properties of NZT reflect that of the reflect that of adderall. The drug is chemically very similar to methamphetamine, and very potent. First the obvious, it gives you crazy motivation, makes your brain fire off like mad (enabling much better use of it) and doing so creates a state of enhanced intelligence. Also, notice the thuggish money loaner that loses a lot of weight after consuming NZT, yet another property of adderall. In Limitless it also states that you don't feel fuzzy or strange, just clear headed. These hold true for adderall also.
Basically I could go on and on with the little details, but here are the big ones.
First, he mentions that to avoid lapses in time he experiences, he needs to make sure to eat. Loss of appetite is a huge problem among patients that are prescribed adderall. I remember forcing myself to eat.
Second, and the most important, is what happens when you get off the drug. The protagonist's first ex mentions that she experienced fogginess of the mind after getting off NZT. Long term users of adderall may also experience a "brain overload" or anxiety episode when confronted with situations that before may have only caused anxiety or discomfort.
Just like the protagonist's deceptive drug dealing ex brother in law lying under the cover of a legitimate drug company worker pushes the pills on every one he comes across to create a market for his new drug, the drug industry needs to be seen not as an organization that can do no harm, but as a group of humans that while exhibiting good intentions also makes mistakes and is susceptible to the same flaws you and I have as human beings: greed, selfishness and impatience.
I believe this movie is calling out the big push for medications pertaining to ADHD that has occurred in the past two decades.
I think the point is that as long as you are dependent on anything, whether its a pill or money or whatever, you will always be another persons puppet. Someone of power like the Robert Deniro's character will continue to control you even at the level of the presidency if you allow them to. This will prevent you from doing what you really want or making a real difference in the world. I think the pill was just a metaphor for power and money and that once Bradley Cooper realized that he already had the power within himself to do what he wanted but just lacked the confidence he no longer needed the pill.
Ending?... He has continued to work with the pharm company throughout the movie on the backend... He pays the chemist millions to reverse engineer and eventually buys a pharm company...this is on the back end of the story. At the end he i directly points out that he has figured out how to sustain the enhanced use and operational benefits without the drug ( he probaly figured this out while on nzt) so he is not on it but found out how to sustain the advantages of nzt without it. ... Permanent nuero wiring to the other % of his brain with full access and functionality
really does no one notice the lab tech he paid 2 million dollars to recreate the formula in 6 months. Then 12 mos later, at the end of the movie signing for something with the same lab tech & Mr. Cooper stating "that's much better"
Cooper's character purposely cracks the joke with the final line of the movie saying 'what' this humor proves hes not on the drug because the situation was used for his crack making his girlfriend smirk and laugh even tho this would have been her reaction just after the screen went to credits and was not shown the reflection of his character.
Further shows this his relationship continued because he kicked the drug and with his confidence seems like he did everything he said with no disception just like the story flow he solved his problems the biggest beaing the dependency the information given about the perfection of the drug was not nessessary in order to bluff deniro he only needed to state he had a alternate means of supply. The blue eyes is still used in refrence to a clear mind even without the drug this seems the most positive ending
"I believe this movie is calling out the big push for medications pertaining to ADHD that has occurred in the past two decades"
I believe this person is dead on, and in fact that the drug in this movie was related to Adderall, And the effects of it.
"Work" is the key word in your question. Losing wghiet requires work, not magic pills. Get rid of the snacks and soda, eat healthy and get some exercise. The best thing you can do is walk or run to the drug store and back without buying anything and you'll likely have lost at least a pound in the process. Do that every day and you'll lose more wghiet than if you drove there and bought the magic diet pills (and you'll feel better and save money on gas and pills!).References :
In my opinion, he is still on the drug and bluffed Robert Deniro's character he was off because he doesn't want to be controlled. Some said he'd found a way to perfect the pill so it is not a matter the pharm lab was closed. But I think the pill was not improved and he would die or hit the rock buttom after the end though the movie didn't show.
There is another interpretation saying that he'd found another way to remain sharp without taking the pill So he replied Deniro he was off.
The buttom line is the writer left the result open for audiences to figure it out.
I don't think drinking the guy's blood made a permanent change. The guy had been injecting and it was in his blood but he had to keep taking it.
I think he could have been bluffing but probably had come up with a better version that he could come off of without the bad results of coming off the original.
He wanted to do a lot of good with his power and didn't want to have to depend on the drug to do it.
I think another subtle message in this film is that of taking care of your body. He does not experience the "side effects" until he begins abusing the drug and taking 2 a day. When he learns to control the side effects, he does so by avoiding alcohol, remembering to eat (cleanly?), and getting rest. Doing these things allows him to maintain clarity without side effects. I think this is a good message about the clairity you can achieve simply by taking care of your body on a daily basis. The lost hours, blurry visions, etc, can be a comparison to what an alcoholic can experience during drinking binges and/or blackouts.
At first I thought it was obvious that he was still on NZT at the end, simply by him speaking that different asian language at the end. I thought that was the movie's way of giving that information away. BUT, the above postings ^ raises some interesting points.
Maybe he was bluffing to Van Loon, maybe he wasn't. He could have been permanently affected by his previous NZT use, he could have reverse engineered it and picked out how to make it better, or he could still be on it. Personally, I think he was still on it at the end.
During the movie, when anybody is on the pill their eyes become blue. At the end of the movie he has blue eyes. I think that he was bluffing to De Niro so he wouldn't have to compromise his integrity.
I believe he is not only still on the pill but he has learned to perfect it. He is always 50 steps ahead, as he stated, and when DeNiro tells him he closed down his lab, it didn't bother him because he anticipated such and was already either operating elsewhere or had many other locations producing his pill.