I was really excited upon learning of the premise of Thailand’s Bad Genius. It seemed like a unique take on the heist genre adopted for teens who try to pull off one of the biggest cheating scams in the world. However, by its end, what I got was a lengthy set up but very poor character development that made no sense.
Synopsis: Lynn is a scholar in one of the top high schools in Thailand who stands to qualify for an overseas scholarship to secure her bright future. However, she is offered by the rich kids in her school to be their mentor (or someone they could cheat from) in exchange of a huge sum. Unfortunately, she gets caught and loses her scholarship. Despite the setback, she sees an opportunity to stage one of the biggest cheating attempts in the history of STIC, an international test to qualify for study abroad.
At first, Bad Genius seemed like a typical heist movie, although instead of a robbery, these kids were trying to pull off large scale cheating using a complex system. It was laudable, how creative the scriptwriters made Lynn’s cheating mechanics by using musical notes to send out the answers.
I did not dislike the character of Lynn at first but as the film advanced, I felt that her character further deteriorated as she suffered from an overinflated ego. While some characters build a rapport with the audience as the film progresses, it was the opposite for Lynn’s character. What’s more, her arrogance cost Bank, the only decent guy in the school, his scholarship and his future, leaving him with no choice but to participate in the cheating ring. While many would argue that it was Pat was the villain of the piece, the seeds were planted by Lynn and she was responsible for everything that transpired.
It irked me to no end that at the end, she was the one who was portrayed to be remorseful while Bank’s personality changed by doing a complete 360. In the end, Lynn was portrayed to be the hero because of her change of heart. It was unfair because in the first place, she was the ringleader and deserved to be punished and not praised.
All in all, I didn’t like this movie too well because I felt like it tried to send a wrong message to the viewers. The only moral character in the piece became a pawn throughout and yet, it seemed like at the last minute, he was portrayed like a greedy villain.
For me, Bad Genius was anything but genius. It was a copout to give the final credit to its lead character. While I appreciated the concept and the suspense, there was no justice and that I could not forgive.