A frustratingly not-terrible action thriller.
Why do corporations tend to be greedy? I suspect it's because their executives are paid millions and millions to maximize profits, minimize salaries and slash benefits that cut into the bottom line. Sometimes this can be taken to comic-opera extremes, as when the (now) convicted thief David Radler was stealing millions from the Sun-Times and actually turned off the escalators to save on electricity. I guess that helps explain why the Ford Motor Co., followed by Chrysler, stole the secret of the intermittent windshield wiper from a little guy named Robert Kearns.
Why bother? Why not just pay the guy royalties? Simple: Because Ford thought it could get away with it. He was only a college professor. They had teams of high-priced lawyers with infinite patience. They risked having the legal fees cost them more than the patent rights, but what the hell. You can't go around encouraging these pipsqueaks.
I know that I sound just like a liberal, but at this point in history I am sick and tired of giant corporations running roughshod over decent people -- cutting their wages, polluting their work environment, denying them health care, forcing them to work unpaid overtime, busting their unions and other crimes we have never heard George Bush denouncing while he was cutting corporate taxes. I am sure lower taxes help corporations to function more profitably. Why is that considered progress, when many workers live in borderline poverty and executives have pissing contests over who has the biggest stock options?
But enough. I have "Flash of Genius" to review. Yes, I am agitated. I am writing during days of economic meltdown, after Wall Street raped Main Street while the Bush ideology held it down. Believe me, I could go on like this all day. But consider the case of Robert Kearns, played here touchingly by Greg Kinnear. He was a professor of engineering, a decent, unremarkable family man, and had a eureka! moment: Why did windshield wipers only go on and off? Why couldn't they reflect existing conditions, as the human eyelid does?