WAVELENGTH is the first cinematic drama about Einstein's theory of wave-particle duality. Non-physicists, beware.
Brilliant theoretical scientist Paul Higgins (Jeremy Piven), an American resident at Oxford University, is up against the wall. His marriage with Claire (Kelli Williams) is in trouble, and the funding for his program is in jeopardy when department chairman James Mallinson (James Villiers) leaves
for MIT. Dedicated to wrapping up Einstein's unfinished work in the field of wave-particle duality, Paul and his colleagues Spike (Dominic West), Leo (Nicholas Marcq), and Paul's lover Lucy Amore (Liza Walker) knock themselves out despite the disapproval of new chairperson, Dr. Eric Amore (James
Faulkner). He begrudges Paul's unconventional genius and despises Paul's dalliance with his daughter, Lucy.
Paul's slim chances for university funding diminish when Lucy, jealous of his marriage, feeds Paul's notes to her father in advance. Aided by a backer (Byrne Piven) from the field of psychic phenomena, Paul scandalizes the Oxford establishment by going over Dr. Amore's head and invoking the dusty
privilege of confronting the school's Visitor (Richard Attenborough) with his petition. Shocked when Claire threatens divorce after discovering her husband's affair, Paul rebounds and successfully secures research moneys from the sympathetic Visitor. Placating Claire, Paul returns to his dream of
explaining how matter can exist both as a wave and as a manifested particle.
Brain matter gets a real workout from the scientific theories, but emotions will remain unengaged by the surprisingly ordinary soap opera shenanigans haloing the scientific arguments. If the director had invested Paul's race to save his project with minimal suspense or if he had captured the
research team's devotion to their work, WAVELENGTH might have reached more than a coterie of physicist-moviegoers. Antagonizing the audience with the self-centeredness of protagonist Paul Higgins, the movie needlessly dissipates tension in the central scientific quest-for-knowledge with dull
tearjerking setbacks. How can viewers care about the hero's earth-shattering mandate when it keeps retreating to his mundane heartaches? This film is closer in spirit to Dr. Ruth than to Dr. Einstein. (Extreme profanity, sexual situations, nudity, adult situations.)
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- Released: 1995
- Rating: R
- Review: WAVELENGTH is the first cinematic drama about Einstein's theory of wave-particle duality. Non-physicists, beware. Brilliant theoretical scientist Paul Higgins (Jeremy Piven), an American resident at Oxford University, is up against the wall. His marriage… (more)