Who? Greg Kinnear (stressed), Lauren Graham (patient), Dermot Mulroney (good scar)
What’s it about? In the 1960s Robert Kearns (Kinnear) invented the not-that-exciting but big-deal-at-the-time intermittent windscreen wiper. It was a massive step forward in car manufacturing, making Kearns big news. But he ended up getting shafted by the ultimate car-bastards, Ford. Flash Of Genius is a David Vs Goliath tale which follows the hapless inventor’s battle against the corporation to get recognised for his work. At any cost.
What’s good about it? It’s a factually accurate and enthralling account of how hard life is as a small-time inventor, and how easy it is to get walked over by big-time companies. The feel-good factor of sticking it to ‘the man’ can’t be underestimated, because unless you are ‘the man’ everyone hates ‘the man’ and wants him to burn. Kinnear is superb in a William H. Macy-in-Fargo role of the pudgy family man who takes on a project that spins wildly out of hand, the results of which tug on the heart strings and provide bittersweet moments aplenty. Plus, considering it’s about a windscreen wiper, director Marc Abraham makes a damn good fist of making Flash Of Genius interesting.
What’s bad about it? It’s about windscreen wipers, which depending on what you do at the weekend isn’t an obvious thrill-a-minute topic to make a film about. And it’s not a totally original concept in its ‘sticking it to the man’ ethos, because films like The Rainmaker have had that covered for years.
Verdict: Good acting and a tense finish make Flash Of Genius ‘definitely not shit’. The events that unfold are key moments in the history of cars and legal practice, so any self-respecting Jeremy Clarkson or Atticus Finch wannabes need to know about it. It’ll be a films that gets shown in class on mufti days: educational and entertaining.
When? March 20