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Film Review: The Current War (2019)

The Current War (2019) is a historical drama about the evolution of electricity. Meant to be out in 2017, this film was delayed for two years due to the backlash of the Harvey Weinstein incidents, as well as mediocre reviews coming out for this film. Directed by Alfonso Gomez-Rejon, this film stars Benedict Cumberbatch, Michael Shannon, Tom Holland and Nicholas Hoult. In the battle to be known as the main provider of electricity and light sources, Edison, Westinghouse and Tesla go against each other to be on top,

What I like in particular about this film is the distinctive cinematography and editing style of the film. This film has a great way of transitioning from one scene to another, and uses a more artistic style which I very much appreciated. This film is stunning to watch, particularly when it comes to the cinematography and lighting during the bulb scenes. It was mesmerising to watch.
The acting throughout this film is top notch, which is what you would expect from a cast like this. Whilst I enjoyed what Tom Holland and Benedict Cumberbatch brought to the film, it was Michael Shannon who was the star of the show. He brought a real sense of drama to the character of Westinghouse, and made him an extremely likeable and caring character in the sense of the business industry.
This is also a story that makes sense to tell on the big screen. A drama like this involving conflict between two separate parties is always a great driving force, and even more fulfilled when it is to do with something visual like light. It’s a compelling story about one of the most basic things in our life right now, and it is cool to see the origins of light source. The film is also very informative, and manages to explain the science behind it in a way that makes sense.
This film clocks in at 1 hour and 40 minutes long, which seems like a good length of time for a film like this. However, one problem that this film has is that it feels way longer than it actually is. The amount of storylines and characters that they have in this film, and the amount of information that is being thrown at the audience, makes this film feel like it is over 2 hours long. It starts to drag by the end of the film, to the point that I wanted the film to end earlier than it did.
The issue with having so many storylines is that I could not feel more passionate about a main or specific one. I felt like Nikola Tesla should have been a bigger part of the film, considering his importance to the events in real life. I also loved the idea of exploring Edison’s family life and the trauma that went on, but that storyline felt forgotten as soon as the film told us that we should not be cheering on Edison and instead wanting Westinghouse to succeed.
There is a lot to like about The Current War, and it has all the right ingredients to make an Oscar contender. Strong performances, a story based on history and dramatic performances that enhance the narrative and show off the incredible cast. However, this story went in a direction that I did not expect it to go to, and it lost it’s footing several times along the way. With a short runtime that feels like an eternity, it’s gorgeous to look at but the story is not quite compelling enough to make the impact hit as hard as it should.

Have you seen The Current War yet? Did you think it dragged on like me, or were you enchanted by the story and the editing style? Let me know in the comments below and let’s have a discussion.

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