The Current War
The Current War, featuring brilliant performances from Oscar nominees Benedict Cumberbatch and Michael Shannon, brings to life the innovations and rivalries that would switch on the world.
Thomas Edison (Cumberbatch) knew he was a genius — and he made sure everyone else knew it, too. In 1879, he and his team conducted the first successful light bulb tests, declaring an end to night as people knew it. But the broad distribution of electricity posed a daunting challenge. Edison was convinced that direct current was the superior system, but entrepreneur George Westinghouse (Shannon, also appearing at this year's Festival in The Shape of Water), Edison's less flamboyant competitor, had a different idea.
We now know Westinghouse and Edison as household names, and their work as central to modern life, but the thrill of this film comes from watching them as men — brilliant minds and exceptional inventors, perhaps, but driven as much as anyone by pride, revenge, guile and maybe money, too. Both sought to bring electricity to the world. Only one of them could win the war to be first.
Director Alfonso Gomez-Rejon makes an impressive leap in scale here from his much-admired independent film, Me and Earl and the Dying Girl. It's worth noting, though, that he apprenticed on films by Martin Scorsese, Michael Mann, and Alejandro González Iñárritu. The fleet, eye-catching style he deploys here shows a sizzle and visual imagination that shouldn't be surprising. His skill, combined with the towering talent of Cumberbatch and Shannon, lends both heat and light to this sweeping epic.
(Source: tiff.net; Author: Cameron Bailey)
World Premiere: September 9, 2017 @ Toronto International Film Festival
Genre: Historical drama
Runtime: 107 minutes
Director: Alfonso Gomez-Rejon
Cast: Benedict Cumberbatch, Michael Shannon, Nicholas Hoult, Tom Holland, Katherine Waterston, Tuppence Middleton, Matthew Macfadyen
Cinematography: Chung-hoon Chung
Editing: David Trachtenberg
Executive Producers: Benedict Cumberbatch, Adam Ackland, David Glasser, Bob Weinstein, Garrett Basch, Steve Zaillian, Martin Scorsese, Michael Mitnick, Ann Ruark
Producers: Harvey Weinstein, Basil Iwaynk, Timur Bekmambetov
Production Designer: Jan Roelfs
Screenplay: Michael Mitnick
Sound: Chris Munro
Original Score: Volker Bertelmann, Dustin O'Halloran