Home > Reviews > FLASH OF GENIUS – Aaron Zigman

FLASH OF GENIUS – Aaron Zigman

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

You wouldn’t think that a film about the life of a man who invented windshield wipers would be very interesting, but that is exactly what Flash of Genius is. Directed by Marc Abraham, the film stars Greg Kinnear as Robert Kearns, a businessman and engineer and amateur inventor in the 1950s, who embarks on a personal crusade for justice against the Detroit automakers who, he claims, stole his idea for the intermittent windshield wiper. Not unexpectedly the score, by the even-busy Aaron Zigman, is that of a small-scale drama, but even within the confines of the story, he still finds a number of effective ways to express himself.

The majority of the score is low key, with a slightly downbeat mood throughout, and is earmarked by various instrumental passages: the opening cue, “The Warehouse”, features a lovely, lonely trumpet solo offset by moody piano and strings, the main melody of which is recapitulated frequently throughout the score. “Drive to Previc’s” has an attractive melancholy piano line, “Pray For Rain” has a sprightly, infectious energy through the use of a piccolo solo, and cues like “Back Home”, “Get Out” and “Make Another Kid” work in acoustic guitars and even a Hammond organ into the regular ensemble to provide a jazzy/bluesy touch.

Other cues such as “Mustangs”, the excellent “Losing It”, “Dennis Returns”, “Breakup” and “The Letter” have an unexpectedly vivid sense of melodrama and heightened emotional content which is very effective indeed, while the rousing finale, “The Verdict”, is warm and triumphant and wholly satisfying.

Tagged on at the end of the score is a bonus track, “Vis Vitae”, a 10-minute chamber concert piece written by Zigman, which premiered at the Third Annual Beverly Hills International Music Festival in 2007, and upon which Flash of Genius’s main theme is based. This is good stuff, and certainly better than one might have expected from a film such as this.

Rating: ****

Track Listing:

  • The Warehouse (1:06)
  • Mustangs (1:39)
  • Drive to Peric’s (1:32)
  • Back Home (1:54)
  • Pray for Rain (1:16)
  • Losing It (5:00)
  • Dennis Returns (1:29)
  • Get Out (0:40)
  • Testimony Montage (0:52)
  • Take the Deal (0:44)
  • It’s Not Over Yet (2:22)
  • Breakup (2:11)
  • Patent Library (0:37)
  • Make Another Kid (1:09)
  • The Diner (1:57)
  • It’s Alive (1:07)
  • Phyllis & Jean (1:00)
  • The Porch (1:11)
  • The Letter (0:48)
  • Dafao’s Final Offer (0:41)
  • Last Pill (0:38)
  • Piece of Crap (0:37)
  • The Verdict (2:42)
  • Vis Vitae (9:43)

Running Time: 42 minutes 55 seconds

Varèse Sarabande VSD-6933 (2008)

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