Somewhere along the way, the idea that the human brain is only using between 10-20 percent of its power simply became one of those notions that seemed so appealing that it became a pop culture fact. After all, if we are maxing out at 20-percent, what possible god-like powers might we unleash if we actually found a way to take the governor off the gray matter and let our brains rip? The ability to count toothpicks at a glance, Rainman-style? The power to go “ Good Will Hunting” on a math problem? Become Jedi?
Sadly, the myth of the 10-percent brain is just that, a myth, but it is a fun one, nonetheless. The upcoming film Limitless builds on this myth as fact, and offers the possibility that the full potential of the brain can be harnessed with the help of a new wonder drug that you take once a day.
Bradley Cooper stars as Eddie Morra, a writer and a slacker. Eddie’s world is mostly miserable, and so when an old friend offers him the chance to improve his circumstances with the help of MTD-48, he jumps at it. The drug opens up Eddie’s potential and improves him in many ways—he becomes exponentially smarter, faster, more charismatic, and avoids the need for sleep, which gives him time to do other things like learn a foreign language and finish his book in a matter of days.
Eddie and his super charged brain attract the attention of Carl Van Loon (played by Robert De Niro), a business man that wants to take advantage of what Eddie can do. Van Loon offers Eddie the chance to truly utilize his new gifts, and offers him access to a fantastic and elite lifestyle, not to mention boatloads of cash. But the drug begins to have serious side effects, and Van Loon is far more dangerous than he appears.
Directed by Neil Burger (The Illusionist, The Lucky Ones), the film is adapted from the novel The Dark Fields by Alan Glynn. Limitless hits theaters on March 19, 2011.