The Current War

Certificate 12A

(2017) 102 mins

Director: Alfonso Gomez-Rejon
Writer: Michael Mitnick
Cinematography: Chung-hoon Chung
Production Design: Jan Roelfs
Music: Danny Bensi, Volker Bertelmann, Saunder Jurriaans, Dustin O’Halloran



Three brilliant visionaries set off in a charged battle for the future in The Current War, the epic story of the cutthroat competition that literally lit up the modern world. Benedict Cumberbatch is Thomas Edison, the celebrity inventor on the verge of bringing electricity to Manhattan with his radical new DC technology. On the eve of triumph, his plans are upended by charismatic businessman George Westinghouse (Michael Shannon), who believes he and his partner, the upstart genius Nikolai Tesla (Nicholas Hoult), have a superior idea for how to rapidly electrify America: with AC current. As Edison and Westinghouse grapple for who will power the nation, they spark one of the first and greatest corporate feuds in American history, establishing for future Titans of Industry the need to break all the rules.  From the official website

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It’s a narrative firehouse, but Gomez-Rejon knows exactly how much detail is needed. The story is loaded with technical details about filament construction, but only ever enough to bring the audience up to speed about the latest point of tension, as the rivalry barrels toward two pivotal events in 1893 – the first execution by electrocution, and the World’s Columbian Exposition, aka the Chicago World’s Fair. It’s a masterclass of showing, not telling, and that’s not just in Shannon and Cumberbatch’s understated performances. It’s the way cinematographer Chung Chung-hoon catches the transition from Edison showing off bulbs in a muddy field at night to the new illuminated world. It’s the way that the score by Hauschka and Dustin J. O’Halloran – part neoclassical, part traditional chamber – enhances the tension of the chase to reshape the world.”  Austin Chronicle

For a movie about the competition between industrial-era engineers, The Current War is surprisingly suspenseful and enthralling. While the at-times patchy plot and historical focus may not appeal to all viewers, the personal drama, stunning cinematography and all-around entertainment make the film well-rounded and widely appealing.”  The Upcoming

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