Flash of Genius

"Very Good"

Flash of Genius Review


Did you ever wonder who fine-tuned the technology behind the intermittent windshield wiper?

Neither did I until I caught Marc Abraham's Flash of Genius, a sober biopic with a surprisingly destructive core that recounts how casual inventor Bob Kearns deciphered how one could pause a perpetually sweeping wiper blade, then fought the Ford Motor Company for proper credit.

Greg Kinnear does his best aw-shucks shuffle to play Kearns, a college professor and father of six who tinkered on his gizmo in the family basement. Kearns claims to have been inspired by the human eye, which automatically blinks every few seconds. He even labeled his invention the "Kearns Blinking-Eye Wiper" when he filed for a patent in 1964. Ironically, "the blink of an eye" also describes how quickly Ford snatched the technology away from Kearns when he and business partner Gil Privick (Dermot Mulroney) approached the automotive giant and struck what they thought was an ethical deal.

Abraham is a longtime producer who appears to be making a cut-and-dried underdog story with his directorial debut. Apple-pie Kearns personifies the American dream, and Kinnear projects this likeable warmth that backs up his hopeless stand against big business' corrupt practices. Former Gilmore Girl Lauren Graham keeps a stiff upper lip as Kearns' supportive spouse, making it easier for us to root for this David as he does everything in his power to take down the dishonest corporate Goliath.

But Genius frustrates (deliberately, mind you) as Kearns' struggle for justice drags on for decades, eroding his mental health and stability at home yet never depleting his confidence. Kearns takes the company to court, but Abraham's point, repeated often, is that Ford has two things Kearns lacks -- money and time. Kearns also has a different definition of "victory" than the rest of us do.

This tug-of-war between settling and winning takes shape late in the film when the great Alan Alda, always welcome, appears as a corporate lawyer who takes Kearns' case and negotiates a hefty financial settlement. Kearns promptly rejects Ford's offer because the company, as part of the deal, refuses to acknowledge his contributions to the wiper technology. In a few brief scenes, Alda manages to be the sparring partner, and dose of reality, Kinnear needs. But he can't help to answer the film's lingering question: At what cost comes the realization of one's lifelong dream?

They're swingin' in the rain.



Flash of Genius

Facts and Figures

Run time: 119 mins

In Theaters: Friday 3rd October 2008

Box Office USA: $4.2M

Distributed by: Universal Pictures

Production compaines: Strike Entertainment, Universal Pictures, Spyglass Entertainment, Intermittent Productions

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 3.5 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 59%
Fresh: 62 Rotten: 43

IMDB: 7.0 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director:

Producer: , J. Miles Dale, Eric Newman

Starring: as Ian Miellor, as Gregory Lawson, as Phyllis Kearns, as Bob Kearns, as Older Kathy

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

Julieta Movie Review

Julieta Movie Review

Iconic Spanish filmmaker Pedro Almodovar is back with another powerfully complex female-centred drama, along the...

Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping Movie Review

Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping Movie Review

An astute satire of the pop music business, this raucous mock-documentary is consistently hilarious from...

War Dogs Movie Review

War Dogs Movie Review

Based on a rather astounding true story, this comedy-drama centres on two stoners who landed...

Swallows and Amazons Movie Review

Swallows and Amazons Movie Review

After a number of films, TV series and stage adaptations, Arthur Ransome's beloved 1930 novel...

David Brent: Life on the Road Movie Review

David Brent: Life on the Road Movie Review

The original BBC sitcom The Office ran for 14 episodes from 2001 to 2003, and...

The Childhood of a Leader Movie Review

The Childhood of a Leader Movie Review

Bold and intelligent, this dark drama is a challenging portrait of the making of an...

Pete's Dragon Movie Review

Pete's Dragon Movie Review

This hugely enjoyable adventure is a loose remake of the 1977 Disney hit that blended...

Advertisement
The Shallows Movie Review

The Shallows Movie Review

With a simple premise and plenty of visual style, Spanish filmmaker Jaume Collet-Serra (Unknown) takes...

Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates Movie Review

Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates Movie Review

Watching this gross-out comedy, it's clear that the gifted cast and crew had a great...

Nerve Movie Review

Nerve Movie Review

With a premise that feels almost eerily current, this stylish thriller revolves around a phone...

The Carer Movie Review

The Carer Movie Review

Brian Cox gets the role of a lifetime in this warm comedy about living life...

Born to Be Blue Movie Review

Born to Be Blue Movie Review

Writer-director Robert Budreau takes a stylised approach to this biopic of the legendary jazz artist...

Jason Bourne Movie Review

Jason Bourne Movie Review

It's been nine years since Matt Damon and Paul Greengrass collaborated on The Bourne Ultimatum,...

The Commune [Kollektivet] Movie Review

The Commune [Kollektivet] Movie Review

Veteran Danish filmmaker Thomas Vinterberg (Festen, The Hunt) returns to a smaller homegrown story after...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.