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

Unforgettable Movie Review

Unforgettable Movie Review

With heavy echoes of trashy thrillers like Fatal Attraction, this movie overcomes its painfully simplistic...

The Belko Experiment Movie Review

The Belko Experiment Movie Review

The kill-or-die scenario that this movie hinges on isn't something new; it's been used in...

The Fate of the Furious Movie Review

The Fate of the Furious Movie Review

With the more dumbed-down title Fast & Furious 8 outside of North America, this overcrowded...

A Quiet Passion Movie Review

A Quiet Passion Movie Review

British writer-director Terence Davies (The Deep Blue Sea) is an expert at digging beneath the...

The Sense of an Ending Movie Review

The Sense of an Ending Movie Review

Julian Barnes' Booker Prize-winning novel is adapted into a remarkably intelligent, gently involving film anchored...

The Boss Baby Movie Review

The Boss Baby Movie Review

There isn't a lot of subtlety in this madcap animated comedy, which is more aimed...

City of Tiny Lights Movie Review

City of Tiny Lights Movie Review

After the latest incarnation of Dredd, director Pete Travis shifts gears drastically for this complex...

Advertisement
Going in Style Movie Review

Going in Style Movie Review

This is only technically a remake of the iconic 1979 film starring movie icons George...

Graduation Movie Review

Graduation Movie Review

Romanian filmmaker Cristian Mungiu (4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days) recounts another staggeringly detailed...

Ghost in the Shell Movie Review

Ghost in the Shell Movie Review

This sci-fi thriller is so visually stunning that it deserves to be mentioned in the...

Free Fire Movie Review

Free Fire Movie Review

Basically a 90-minute shoot-out, there isn't a lot to this movie. British filmmaker Ben Wheatley...

Life Movie Review

Life Movie Review

Like a mash-up of Alien and Gravity, this ripping sci-fi horror movie is very effective...

The Lost City of Z Movie Review

The Lost City of Z Movie Review

Based on a true story, it's the historical aspect of these events that holds the...

Chips Movie Review

Chips Movie Review

It's clear from the very start that this movie has little to do with the...

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.