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“The Current War: Director’s Cut ” Lighting America




Review by John Delia

The Current War: Director’s Cut is not an ordinary war with ammunition, but one that pits three of the most notable inventors at odds with each other to develop current that will light up the world. A well told story based on historical facts, the movie has the cast, crew and director to back it. If you like a good drama that will not only entertain, but astonish you, then this cool film will light up your life.

The year is 1879 and people are still using kerosene and gas lamps to light up America. One man, Thomas Edison comes up with the invention that will change the way many live, a glass bulb with a wire filament inside. His invention is complete, but it’s not the end of the story as how to get electricity to where the light bulb is becomes the basis for this movie.

Benedict Cumberbatch and, Tom Holland in The Current War: Director’s Cut from 101 Studios

Two men go toe to toe of how to light up the homes and businesses. Edison has a competitor George Westinghouse, and his idea to spread of electricity across the nation is the complete opposite of Edison. The one thing going for Westinghouse is that he has hired generator inventor Nikola Tesla (Nicholas Hoult). And at a movie theater near you The Current War: Director’s Cut has the rest of the story.

Director Alfonso Gomez-Rejon who helmed Me Earl and the Dying Girl that was a favorite among critics, takes the script written by Michael Mitnick, sprinkles in actors Benedict Cumberbatch, Michael Shannon and Nicholas Hoult and serves up a film that glues you to your seat till the last frame flickers. He moves his movie along at a nice pace showing Edison’s accomplishments. Then he adds in a bit of history not well known to many about Westinghouse’s involvement in the spread of electricity throughout the USA.

Nicholas Hoult in The Current War: Director’s Cut from 101 Studios

Just having Benedict Cumberbatch, Michael Shannon and Nicholas Hoult in the same movie makes The Current War a winner. Cumberbatch leads off with his charming personality as he introduces his invention and you are immediately entrenched in his life. Although it’s what you would expect from him, his presentation of Edison is a bright man who thinks ahead. He shows how Edison was already finding a way to use his invention, but it wasn’t so easy back in the day.

I also enjoyed Michael Shannon as the conniving ‘salesman’ who knows where the money is and goes after it. He’s a futurist and knows that if he can wire America than his next step will be the world. Shannon has always been a favorite of mine showing his amazing ability to capture good characters like the shyster Rick Carver in 99 Homes and Richard Strickland in The Shape of Water.

Benedict Cumberbatch in The Current War: Director’s Cut from 101 Studios

Nicholas Hoult takes a break from the action films to bring the bright and upcoming Tesla to the screen. Here he’s the brains behind the must needed generator to provide electricity to Westinghouse’s project. It’s a good role for Hoult and his performance stands out as both a catalyst and a man being gobbled up by the future. His recent role as J.R.R. Tolkien in the movie Tolkien was excellent and memorable.

The Current War: Director’s Cut has been rated PG-13 by the MPAA for some disturbing/violent images, and thematic elements. The film was to be released in 2017 but word on Google shows it was shelved due to the Harvey Weinstein debacle. The original print was reworked to Director Gomez-Rejon’s standards and sold off to Lantern Entertainment as a Director’s cut.

FINAL ANALYSIS: A Very good film that entertains and astonishes. (3.5 out of 5 Stars)

Additional Film Information:
Cast: Benedict Cumberbatch, Michael Shannon, Tom Holland, & Nicholas Hoult
Directed by: Alfonso Gomez-Rejon
Written by: Michael Mitnick
Genre: Biography, Drama, History
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for some disturbing/violent images, and thematic elements
Running Time: 1 hr. 47 min.
Opening Date: October 25, 2019
Distributed by: 101 Studios
Released in: Theaters, color

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