Reel Asian 2017: Bad Genius

A highly intelligent Taiwanese high school student helps her classmates cheat on exams in Bad Genius. Lynn (Chutimon Chuengcharoensukying) is a math genius living on her own with her father, who is enrolled into an elite high school on a scholarship. She quickly befriends Grace (Eisaya Hosuwan) and her boyfriend Pat (Teeradon Supapunpinyo), who want to take advantage of Lynn’s intelligence, so they can get good grades on tests. This draws the ire of fellow scholarship student Bank (Chanon Santinatornkul), though he reluctantly teams up with Lynn to ambitiously share the answers of the elite STIC exam.

Loosely based on a real cheating scandal, Bad Genius is structured as a heist film, as Lynn begins helping students at her elite high school cheat on exams. Starting as a simple favour for her friend Grace, the cheating soon balloons into a full blown operation, as Lynn develops hand signals to give fellow students the test answers. When it comes time for the STIC entrance exam, Lynn and fellow genius Bank travel to Sydney for a highly ambitious and dangerous plan.

When it comes down to it, Bad Genius is a story of a good student gone bad. Living alone with his cash-strapped father, Lynn feels a sense of guilt when she discovers there were extra feels on top of her scholarship. Deciding that life cheats her anyway, she decides to go along with her friend’s cheating plans. Despite the fact that she is doing something terribly wrong, Lynn remains a sympathetic figure throughout Bad Genius and you really start to feel bad about how her intelligence is taken advantage by those around her. Overall, Bad Genius is both an tense high school heist film, while also having a moral core.

7 / 10 stars


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Sean Kelly Author

Sean Patrick Kelly is a self-described über-geek, who has been an avid film lover for all his life. He graduated from York University in 2010 with an honours B.A. in Cinema and Media Studies and he likes to believe he knows what he’s talking about when he writes about film (despite occasionally going on pointless rants).