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Flash of Genius

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Without a doubt, Flash of Genius is one of the best movies I’ve seen in a long time. My wife really wanted to see this one after seeing a commercial for it on another movie. We rented it and it was one of the best movies we’ve seen, bar none.

This movie, though, is very different from what the two of us usually agree on. It’s a great movie about a man who has his idea stolen by the Ford Motor Company and fights to get his rights back. It ruins nearly every other aspect of his life, this pursuit of justice, but he finally wins in the end.

The movie causes you to question things on several levels. First, why is it that Ford figured they could just steal the idea and get away with it? Is this the evil corporation at work? Then, why does it take so much effort, time, money, etc. for the fight in the Patent courts to proceed? By the time the movie is over, he’s gone from a not-quite-middle-aged man to a gray-haired guy with a slight limp.

Well, the two processes work in tandem to explain the situation. Ford thought that they could get away with stealing from this nobody professor because it would take years, piles of cash, and a lot of effort for him to take them through court and win.

In other words, our crappy justice system encourages large corporations to feel they have the upper hand in these situations. When a multi-billion dollar company like Ford is faced with a lawsuit from Joe Schmoe, they can blow it off because all of the odds are in their favor. That’s justice for ya.

The other level of this movie is the interaction between the hero and his family and friends. Things are strained, to say the least, in much of the movie. He nearly sacrifices his entire life, family, and more just to go through with this lawsuit. Most would have given up at the first offer of several hundred thousand dollars when Ford wanted to settle.

The underlying point of this movie is supposed to be one man’s pursuit of justice against all the odds. But the rest of that premise is “and at any price.” He gives up almost all that he has for this pursuit.

Was it worth it? Monetarily, maybe so, but he doesn’t win those years back, just a pile of cash. Personally, I don’t think his struggle was worth it. The movie, though is poignant, strong, and extremely well done.

I definitely recommend this movie to everyone. It’s extremely good.

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