The Current War Review: Benedict Cumberbatch & Michael Shannon's film is too short circuited to be enjoyed

The Current War Movie Review: The Benedict Cumberbatch and Michael Shannon led film has its moments in between but the attention to detailing lacks and hence, pales in comparison to what could have been an informative and entertaining watch.
The Current War Review: Benedict Cumberbatch & Michael Shannon's film is too short circuited to be enjoyedThe Current War Review: Benedict Cumberbatch & Michael Shannon's film is too short circuited to be enjoyed
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The Current War

The Current War Director: Alfonso Gomez-Rejon

The Current War Cast: Benedict Cumberbatch, Nicholas Hoult, Michael Shannon, Tom Holland

The Current War Stars: 3/5

When it comes to "inspired by true events," you know the basic gist of how such a film would transgress. Hence, it's the attention to the minutest of details that make it an intricate watch. When it comes to The Current War, which isn't technically a biography on Thomas Edison and rather a historical viewpoint of the actual 'war' over electricity, not enough attention was bestowed upon the invention of the current and that's a 'direct' letdown. For someone who belongs to a generation where inventions don't matter, I actually looked forward to understanding the mechanics behind having accessibility to electricity 24×7. However, such was not the case!

The Current War takes place at a time when houses were lit by fire and machines were moved by hands and legs. On one hand, we have the incomparable Thomas Edison (Benedict Cumberbatch) who swears by the deeply effective yet more expensive DC (Direct Current). On the other hand, we also have businessman George Westinghouse (Michael Shannon) who swears by the music cheaper but fatally flawed AC (Alternate Current). And then there's Nikola Tesla (Nicholas Hoult), who admires Edison's genius but believes in Westinghouse's method of usage. What follows are key events as we see the rise of one and the fall of another, all in the name of electricity.

For a movie that is based on a time before electricity actually took center stage, the cinematography by Chung-hoon Chung is almost painfully modern to decipher. The zig-zag motion of the lens and the extreme intricate close-up shots that try to showcase the increase in tensions fail to deliver its promise. A more 'direct' than 'alternate' approach would have been more beneficial. But, one can't negate the fact that the production design is beyond extraordinary and visually pleasing to look at. The soundtrack compliments between the obvious odes of silence and the constant current background score. Alfonso Gomez-Rejon's direction and Michael Mitnick's screenplay tries to look at the Edison vs. Westinghouse war from twin perspectives whether neither is an out-and-out good or bad guy and that's a refreshing change.

Edison has not been portrayed as just a genius who was eventually robbed off of his invention while Westinghouse actually has a conscience and fights for it untill his last straw. As they say, you either die a hero like Edison or you live long enough to see yourself become the villain like Westinghouse and Tesla.

When it comes to the performances, Benedict Cumberbatch's Edison interpretation is near pitch-perfect but the attempted American accent deems it anything but extraordinary. There are a few tender moments where even the accent can be excused but not completely disregarded as the monologues increase. On the other hand, Michael really proves his acting mettle and sheds a versatile light on George, where you don't see Westinghouse as the villain and rather the hero. It would be wrong to comment on Nicholas' performance as Tesla was more of an afterthought while Tom Holland's Samuel Insull (Edison's assistant) act didn't have much to deliver either.

ALSO READ: The Current War Trailer: Benedict Cumberbatch and Nicholas Hoult bring forward the Edison vs Tesla rivalry

The Current War is that atypical Oscar-baitish film that was unfortunately hit by The Weinstein scandal. The final cut has its moments no doubt with a star-studded cast to boast about, however, it's short-circuiting is too overexposed to really enjoy when the bulb finally turns on.

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