Thomas Edison is considered the inventor of the light bulb. So it’s no wonder that filmmakers find it exciting to research the person behind the scientist and make a biopic out of it. But The Current War It’s not just the USA title that misleads the viewer. We reveal more about this in our review.
Michael Shannon in the role of entrepreneur George Westinghouse.
One of them is the invention of the electric chair, which takes up so much space that at times you get the impression that “Edison” actually just wanted to tell you about this. You can’t deny the film’s ability to find really graphic images of the perversion of this killing machine. For example, when a horse is used to show how seemingly gentle death by electricity is compared to hanging or beheading. But there is a remarkable cynicism inherent in the film. Mainly due to the bigotry of Thomas Edison himself, who the film clearly establishes at the beginning as an oddball popular figure. He doesn’t want to take part in the invention of war weapons because his invention isn’t supposed to kill anyone, but he later gets involved in the development of the electric chair – “Edison” never makes this extreme change of heart the subject and presents the researcher’s action as a mere reaction to it shows that he was increasingly pushed into a corner by George Westinghouse. Morality looks different. But speaking of looks: the film is at least stage-wise thanks to its authentic set design and costumes as well as extremely high-quality camerawork (Chung-hoon Chung, “The Pickpocket”) a decent impression.
“In the original, the film has the much more appropriate title “A Current War”, which captures much better that “Edison – A Life Full of Light” is based on true events, but not a classic one at all A biopic, especially not about Edison, because ultimately two people are equally at the center of it.”
Benedict Cumberbatch (“1917”) Under these circumstances, he hardly gets the opportunity to show off the way he usually likes to. In some scenes he simply seems to repeat his shy performance from “Sherlock” – when it comes to showing Edison as a particularly eccentric contemporary. Then again, you just see Cumberbatch himself reciting sentences that could have come straight from an Edison biography. He hardly manages to fill the actually so exciting person with life. Michael Shannon (“Midnight Special”) is more convincing – but especially because he has a full beard and is not recognizable as himself. But overall his role at least offers a little more opportunity to play. Nicholas Hoult (“Mad Max: Fury Road”) Incidentally, Nikola Tesla plays a much smaller role than would be appropriate given Tesla’s importance in this electricity war. And “Spider-Man” star Tom Holland – like the men’s wives – is simply completely ignored.
Conclusion: “The Current War” is the misleading title of a film about two men who discuss the advantages and disadvantages of direct and alternating current. That only makes it slightly more exciting than the corresponding Wikipedia article, which cannot be compensated for by the cast suffering from the weak script.
“The Current War” can be seen in USA cinemas from July 23rd.