Flash of Genius is one of the surprise films that is being shown at this year’s Telluride Film Festival. Based on a true story, Flash of Genius follows Doctor Robert Kearns (Greg Kinnear), a Detroit-based inventor and engineer professor, who decided to take on the automotive industry, and more specifically Ford Motor Company, who he claimed stole his patented idea for the intermittent windshield wiper.
Yeah, it doesn’t immediately sound like a compelling narrative for a feature film, but Philip Railsback’s screenplay brings the story home, resulting in a fascinating family drama. The battle over inventor-ship lasted many years and at what cost? His wife, his family, his job and even his mental stability. Kearns wasn’t after a huge out of court settlement, he just wanted credit for the invention that he believed he created.
I’ve enjoyed Kinnear’s many performances over the years, but I’ve always believed that his range was somewhat limited. In Flash of Genius, Kinnear takes it to the next level, disappearing into the role and showing a transformation which might rival Benjamin Button on a micro level. Co-stars Dermot Mulroney, Alan Alda and Lauren Graham also turned in notable performances, but Kinear stole the show.
Marc Abraham has been producing films since 1991’s The Commitments. He has been involved in various types of films over the last 17 years, everything from The Babysitters Club to Children of Men. Flash of Genius is Abraham’s directorial debut, and a passion project that he has been developing for almost a decade.
The film will ask questions of yourself. Would you, could you, sell your legacy for $30 million or even $100 million? When is it time to give up on something, even if you know/believe it to be right?
/Film Rating: 8 out of 10