[TH-MOVIE] Bad Genius (2017)

warning: may contain spoilers

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When you use your intelligence to do something bad..

Plot:

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Lynn enrolls in a secondary school with a scholarship. She also lives with her father. She became friends with Grace who is kind but she’s not as smart as Lynn. Grace asked for Lynn’s help for the final exam by tutoring her. Lynn then helped Grace cheat in the exam and they both got high scores. Lynn is then approached by Grace’s boyfriend Pat, who offers to pay her in exchange for helping him and his friends in the exam. Lynn began her “music lessons” inside her home with Grace, Pat and some other students. She made use of musical notes as hand signals for A B C D that only they will understand. Her method of cheating was eventually a success and more students joined their team. However one day, Bank who is also another top student, reported it to the teacher and only Lynn and another student were punished. Lynn has her scholarship stripped off and she couldn’t apply for international scholarship anymore. When she decided to quit, Pat and Grace once again approached her and asked her to help them one last time for the STIC. It’s an exam to apply for universities abroad and this will attract not only students in their school, but all students that will apply in STIC. This will make them earn millions. She reluctantly agrees, but she can only do it with Bank’s help. Of course Bank is an upright, honest and smart student who comes from a poor family. He would never agree to cheating. However, Bank is attacked by thugs on his way home and missed the exam for a university scholarship. He then agrees to help Lynn. The STIC is held globally on the same day, but because of time zone difference, some countries are taking the exam earlier, so they decided to fly to Australia. Will Lynn and Bank successfully take the exam and send the answers to Pat and Grace? Would they be able to successfully carry out their mission and help the hundreds of students?

 

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Opinions:

I wanted to watch this on local cinema but the air time was too fast, so I wasn’t able to watch it in the cinema. So glad that I took the time to watch this on the internet. I was on a Thai drama marathon, and I was watching Hormones 3. I checked the actors’ other works and saw this in the list. I finally decided to watch it. It’s so rare for me to watch a movie without taking a break or pausing. But for this one, I sat through it for the whole 2 hours, which says a lot about me enjoying the film. It’s mainly about school; taking exams and cheating. In all honesty, it’s so hard to write something about taking school exams and just school with no love story at all. At first glance, it would probably be the most boring movie, but who would’ve imagine that it can be both exciting and thrilling at the same time?

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Temptation: Have you ever cheated in your life? Cheating in an exam? Asking someone to do your homework for you? Or contributing nothing to your group work? As students, there are times when we are tempted to cheat just so we can pass the test. Even though we know we’re only fooling ourselves by doing it, but maybe it’s the only way to survive and please our parents and teachers. For those students who are smart and excels in exams, I think they are at a disadvantage since they won’t get anything by helping their friends or classmates. Well in this case, money is involved so it’s a win-win situation for both parties. Both Bank and Lynn came from poor families, and Pat is a rich kid so he really makes good use of his money. Here, we attest again that money and power really rules in our society. And I think it can be seen in everyday life, not only in schools but also in government, business, etc. It’s so easy to bribe people with money; it’s definitely a sad reality. Nonetheless, I think the cheating method is super creative with how Lynn made use of musical notes and the piano pieces to make hand gestures. It gives tips and ideas for students to use it in their future exams. lol But at the end of the day, like how what happened in this movie, you’ll eventually get caught.

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Chemistry : Two girls and two guys? This is the perfect pairing to have in a Korean drama! lol Grace and Pat were obviously lovers in the movie, but it wasn’t the highlight of the movie. Meanwhile, Lynn and Bank had a solo time in Australia and they had a chance to talk and open up to each other. That moment could’ve created a spark or love line, but it didn’t happen, but I’m very glad that they didn’t. I think it would just ruin the movie as a whole and really divert the main point of the story. But I did enjoy their chemistry together as nerds. I would love to see them act together in a drama or movie maybe in the future?

Characters:

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Aokbab Chutimon Cheungcharoensukying as Lynn – I didn’t know that she was trained to become a model, and had no acting experience prior to this. I think she’s such a natural in portraying the character. She looks a bit intimidating, but I love how she shows her nervous expressions, but still aced the exams. I think her looks is very model-looking, which restricts her from taking different roles. But surprisingly, the character looked like it was meant for her. Very well-portrayed and all in all such a likable yet badass character as well.

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Non Chanon Santinatornkul as Bank — He’s such a cutie! I first discovered him in Hormones 3 wherein he had a small role there as Net. I was looking forward to see more of him, and saw that he’s part of this hit movie. I didn’t actually notice him when I saw the poster, but only noticed James. I love these two guys, so I’m happy to see familiar faces in the movie. I love how Non is such a goody goody but he can also be badass. I think he has a face that’s suitable for wider range of roles. And although his looks is not strikingly handsome like James, but he has this appeal or charisma that I find charming. Really a likable actor! I now found a new favorite Thai actor! lol

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James Teeradon Supapunpinyo as Pat — James always gets roles like this: rich kid who’s super spoiled and like to have fun. I wonder if his other dramas besides Thirteen Terrors and Hormones are also like this since I don’t want people to think that he has this persona even in real life. Anyway, isn’t he so cute? He’s really fitting for the role, and also very natural. Whenever we have roles like these, James always come to mind. But I hope he picks a different kind of role next time. Still, he’s still young and he still has a long way to go. I think he can be super popular in the future; he just needs his breakthrough leading role and he can hit it big.

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Oom Eisaya Hosuwan as Grace — It’s my first time to see her act, but isn’t she perfect for the role? She has this really popular girl in school image who likes to do makeup and doesn’t take studies seriously. I like how her face can be innocent, when she’s actually a fox or just wants to take advantage of someone else. I think she’s quite good in playing the character and her chemistry with James was also great. Looking forward to see more of her in the future.

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Ending:

Eventually they got caught for cheating, but the students who got the answers benefitted and celebrated since they aced the test. Bank used the money that he earned and upgraded his family’s laundry service by buying more washing machines. He also invited Lynn to join him and cheat for students on a different entrance exam. It’s a bigger scale which can attract more students into paying their service, but Lynn refused. She confessed that she cheated in the exam and shared everything that she did. Many are upset with Bank’s character development, I love love his character from the very start. Of course, seeing him do something bad is so disappointing. I guess he’s just trying to be realistic. He needs money and he knows that even if he has the brains and lands in a good paying job, the maximum salary that he can get is really low. The consequences that he got from cheating wasn’t that severe the first time, so I guess doing it again probably won’t hurt. In a way, we don’t get a completely happy ending, but I guess they want to show a contrast between the lead characters’ decisions; like how one ended up falling into temptation while the other one stopped for good. Like in any other movie, we kind of wished that we got a happy ending, but this one is very realistic and unexpected. You don’t get anything good when you let others cheat, but the real winners here are the ones who paid for their service.

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Final Thoughts:

As someone who enjoys watching movies, aren’t we all tired of the same old plot– rom-com, sci-fi and superhero movies? Bad Genius breaks out of the norm for being a movie that’s well thought of and just out of the box. It didn’t dwell on love or romance, but purely about exams and school. But who says school topics are boring? I do.. I mean, we all do. However surprisingly, this movie isn’t boring, but offers a lot more. In fact, it was an easy watch since we’ve all been students once in our lives so it was relatable. It was surely thrilling especially during their final exam when I also panicked and I was on the edge of my seat. The pacing of the story was great and the actors were all chosen despite being young and not yet skillful compared to other top stars. Even before, I always find Thailand movies impressive, be it rom-com or horror. And I’m glad this movie succeeded in many Asian countries. Super highly recommended!

Rating: 10/10

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