Flash of Genius | Screen | Pittsburgh | Pittsburgh City Paper

Flash of Genius

Windshield wipers ruin one man's life in this drama inspired by real events

This is, without question, the most gripping film about intermittent windshield wipers ever made. Greg Kinnear plays engineer Robert Kearns, who created the mechanism in 1967, only to see it end up in the hands of the Ford Motor Company. Directed by Marc Abraham and based on a New Yorker magazine story, Flash is a pedestrian (sorry) David-sues-Goliath courtroom drama, albeit with some nuance. Kinnear captures the off-putting monomania that can afflict crusaders, and Flash suggests that corporate America was rotting long before its industrial collapse. (Who fears Ford these days?) There's bittersweet family drama too, which benefits from Lauren Graham's portrayal of the girl-next-door wife. But still ... we're talking about windshield wipers, and the plot moves as predictably as the invention itself. There are also inevitable "based on a true story" distortions, though Flash does capture the price Kearns paid: As his daughter said after Kearns' death, in 2005, "His life was simply this battle." (Chris Potter)

Women & Non-binary Bike Summit
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Women & Non-binary Bike Summit

By Mars Johnson