Movie: Bad Genius (2017)

[ random movie time ]
Just in time for the ASEAN Summit.


You ask: how can a heist movie about cheating get any better? BY ADDING INTENSE MUSIC. I’m not ashamed to admit there was a long 5-second stretch near the final act where I just turned away from the big screen and stopped watching. My heart couldn’t take it. The music kept escalating. Lol.

Bad Genius is a character-driven story focusing on four high school kids in a premier university. Two scholarship students face similar situations with opposite moral codes. Lynn, the protagonist, is the kind of scholar who would sell her smarts. Bank starts out as a unicorn.

Then there are two rich kids who are smart enough to devise ways to pass the international SAT without, you know, studying. I actually really admire their dedication to avoiding actual review. You have to award that kind of commitment to privilege.

A lot of the fun things from this movie comes from its heist appeal. Everything feels (unnecessarily?) high stakes. Then again, cheating probably does feel like a heist in real life.

As part of the audience, you want them to succeed. Intellectually, you also realize they need to face consequences for their actions. But getting away with it is just. So. Much. Fun.

On a side note, this is apparently a very real issue in Asia. A quick google of “cheating”, “international exam” and related keywords turn up the unbelievable ways Asians –mostly Chinese and Thai– try to secure good grades to apply for American universities.

To be serious, Bad Genius Movie Philippines is an unexpected treat. I highly recommend it. This is the first Thai movie I’ve ever watched, and the quality is way beyond what we usually produce here in the PH. (I can’t help the comparison, sorry.) It makes me want to get on the Thai movie/drama train.

The script was cohesive and the development felt natural. The attention to detail really made a difference. I loved the production. It was a very long movie for its content –2 hours long. You’ll know the pacing is slow, but you won’t be mad about it.

Finally, what I liked about this movie is its central conundrum. It’s like all of those scientific debates prefaced with “We COULD do it. But SHOULD we?”. Cue meme. Even before Lynn could decide on an action, her quick brain already provided a neat way to act. Perils of being too smart in only some ways, I suppose.

Catch it… tonight. Before Justice League swallows up all cinemas.

P.S. They’re all so cute? Help!

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