Trailer: Flash of Genius

July 30, 2008

The “Flash of Genius” trailer was the one bright spot of having to sit through the contrivance fest that was “Mamma Mia” [see: Gut Reaction].  Greg Kinnear is a strong actor, and he plays the downtrodden everyman with a lot of openess that doesn’t come off as hokey.  Lauren Graham will no doubt be perky and upbeat while also dipping into the role of supporting, loving wife.  “Flash of Genius” has two options:  It will be a strong biopic that will make people cheer at the right moments, or it’ll be an overly-dramatic, too-long collection of scenes of Greg Kinnear looking serious, sad, determined, and tired.

The tone of the movie is going to rest on the writer and director.  The writers are Phillip Railsback, who holds two other credits to his name, according to imdb.com, and John Seabrook, who apparently wrote an article about the real Bob Kearns.  There are no ridiculous, overblown speeches in the trailer; I’ll take that as a positive sign that the writers are trying to tell a story as it happened and not a story as it should be dramatized for maximum effect.

The director, Marc Abraham, is a first-timer, though he has a stack of producer credits under his belt that are mostly impressive.  Given the nature of trailers, his directional style is still unclear, as the point of the trailer is to tell you just enough story to get you interested and not show you any interesting techniques the director may be putting to work.

“Flash of Genius” is balancing on a fence.  On one side is an over-dramatic, eye-rollingly syrupy story of a poor, common man getting picked on by the big corporation.  On the other side is the honest story of a college professor with a couple of degrees who refused to back down when his useful invention was bogarted by a couple of jerks in suits.  I’m hoping “Flash of Genius” will end up on the honest side, and skip over all the usual underdog story hurdles.



  1. My hopes rest with yours Sean. I hope the honesty comes out on top, especially considering the film’s biographical subject (Kinnear’s character) has just died.

  2. Good post.

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