<Review by: Sailesh Ghelani>


Directed by Alfonso Gomez-Rejon. Starring Benedict Cumberbatch, Michael Shannon, Katherine Waterston, Tom Holland, Tuppence Middleton, Matthew MacFadyen

Running time: 1 hour 50 minutes


The Current War was actually showcased at TIFF 2017 but didn’t make it past the film festival till this year. One because it received terrible reviews and two because Harvey Weinstein was in the film’s credits and this was the time he was in the news for sexual abuse. After two years, some editing and chopping his name from the credits, the film has been released. The reviews haven’t change much though.

Apparently, Thomas Alva Edison never really invented the science of the light bulb, but he has been widely credited for it. A genius for sure, he invented a multitude of devices that changed the world in big and small ways. Sound recording and motion pictures wouldn’t have been born without him. And yet, as we are shown in The Current War, the man who would spread light and beautiful imagery was a dark and somewhat crabby man who thought only of himself and was often a hypocrite in order to protect his work and fame.


In the Current War, Edison (Benedict Cumberbatch), looks the happy family man but turns out to be a ruthless and wicked inventor of killing contraptions while accusing his competitor George Westinghouse (Michael Shannon) of using dangerous AC (alternating current) to power towns, where Edison’s DC (direct current) was far safer – though much less in use due to its high cost and need of more raw material.

This power play between two giant men of industry is what the film is about. Edison is the more popular and famous one whose ego doesn’t allow him to work with Westinghouse to power up America. Even Nikola Tesla (Nicholas Hoult) gets fed up of Edison. So many genius men in the movie, but alas, there is little inspiration or awe being inspired by any of them.


It is an intriguing story though, but never quite reaches epic proportions. The acting is great, the cinematography pretty, but there is never that stirring of emotions except when Edison decides to electrocute animals to prove a point – bastard! Also proof that geniuses can sometimes be the most cruel and inhuman creatures on the planet.

The Current War is an average biopic that manages to pull through with the talent of its elegant and capable cast.

PS: There is a Director’s Cut that is releasing in the US.  

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