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Generally favorable reviews - based on 5 Critics What's this?

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  • Summary: Genius on Hold looks at the lives of Walter L. Shaw, a genius inventor who died poor, and his son, Walter T. Shaw, a notorious jewel thief.
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 3 out of 5
  2. Negative: 0 out of 5
  1. Reviewed by: Ernest Hardy
    Feb 26, 2013
    90
    One marvel of the film is how it conveys so much information so quickly, and with such accessibility.
  2. Reviewed by: Gary Goldstein
    Feb 28, 2013
    80
    Marquette, aided by Frank Langella's precise narration, has crafted an engrossing and disturbing tribute.
  3. Feb 25, 2013
    75
    Though overstuffed, his film eschews pop-doc conventions by opting for in-depth analysis over superficiality.
  4. Reviewed by: Bill Goodykoontz
    Dec 13, 2013
    60
    It’s a mix of good films that could have been a single outstanding one.
  5. Reviewed by: Nicolas Rapold
    Feb 28, 2013
    40
    This promisingly tragic tale is sunk by cartloads of context and an overbearing, slanted narration.
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 0 out of 1
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 1
  3. Negative: 1 out of 1
  1. Mar 4, 2013
    3
    First, no credible reviewer could rate this 9 of 10, assuming that 10 is reserved for the finest films of all time, like Citizen Kane. There are too many imperfections to wedge into a single point demerit on a 10-point scale. Second, the movie is a bait and switch, of sorts, promising the inventor, and delivering a whole lot of his errant son, who apparently made a name for himself as a convicted thief/burglar. The ad and trailer do not fairly portray the movie, so be forewarned. Third, the lack of visual material on the inventor himself, in particular, the lack of video, and even the relative scarcity of photos, stands out negatively, when juxtaposed with the copious footage of interviews of shabbily dressed unknowns attesting to various points in the narrative, or interpretations of U.S. economic policy (AT&T was a monopoly, don't you know?). Fourth, many of these shortcomings could have been overcome by a tighter timeline, and sharper focus on what motivated the man himself. Some context on the significance of the patents would have been quite helpful, as well. We never get much sense of when the patents for various devices were issued in relation to when the inventions themselves were first commercialized. As you can read, I left quite disappointed, although no less interested in the man himself. Expand

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