And when I say THE CURRENT WAR: DIRECTOR’S CUT, I mean that’s what they are releasing the film in the theaters as. I have not personally seen this TIFF (Toronto International Film Festival) 2017 Harvey “Rapist” Weinstein cut that was put together, but I heard it was horrible and almost unwatchable. This however, is very watchable, and quite enjoyable. When I think about it, I think this might be the only way you could tell a story like this, without boring the audiences to tears. I wasn’t bored at all. I was quite intrigued to learn about the long fight between Thomas Edison and George Westinghouse that would determine whose electrical system would power the modern world. It is a crisp and clean hour and 47 minutes, and I can’t imagine how Weinstein’s cut, which I heard is about half an hour longer, could’ve been any better. If you ever want to learn about this subject matter, but don’t want to read a book or just look it up on Wikipedia, I’d say it is safe to say to watch this to get a broad spectrum based off of the events that transpired.
I described the plot a bit above, but to go bit further I believe the film took place between 1880 and 1891-1893, somewhere in that range, I’m not a fucking historian. But yeah, it just shows the trials and tribulations of these two men whose mission it was to make it their legacy that they themselves brought light to the world. Nikola Tesla shows up in this as well, working for both men at different times, and Samuel Insull, Edison’s personal secretary, has his hand in some major events. No, I’m not going to tell you who won on here, hopefully if you were interesting in this subject matter and already had a hand it in then you already know. Me? I only had little inklings and tidbits about everything before going into the theater, and only a few of those were confirmed by scenes presented in the film, but most of it was new information I was shocked to learn about and some of my knowledge was altogether wrong. The movie also has a fun yet frightening history of the origin of the electric chair as well to entertainingly fill in the gaps of who ultimately wins their legacy.
I really liked the score in this film, as it is quite memorable because I am still humming it as I sit and write this review. The look of the film is great too, I felt like everything was “up to code” in the theatrical representation for that time period. The movie never really drags, and is successful informing while entertaining. The acting here is strong as well. Benedict Cumberbatch and Michael Shannon are always reliable in what they do, and here is no different. There really isn’t an antagonist in the film, both Edison and Westinghouse had their quirks and misdeeds, but neither are monsters. Both have sympathetic aspirations and both do things that make you want to slap your head in disgust, but you realize they are just trying to make the world a better place in the end. Near the end of the film, Edison and Westinghouse have a cordial chat, and everything said in that conversation brilliantly sums up the entire debacle. You can tell the two men were frustrated yet respected the hell out of one another. Spider-Ma….err Tom Holland, did pretty well in his couple of scenes as Samuel Insull, and Nicholas Hoult did well in his limited screen time as Tesla, although I’d now like a whole film just about his life. Written by the screenwriter that wrote this film and directed by this film’s director.
One more aspect of the film I appreciated is that the women really weren’t just background dressing. Both Edison and Westinghouse’s wives, Mary Stilwell and Marguerite help shape the lives of their husbands and helped them out in certain situations. I was surprised and delighted by their involvement and Tuppence Middleton and Katherine Waterston did well in those small yet pivotal roles. There isn’t much more I can say about the film, so I’ll just wrap it up this way: If you are a history buff, or maybe an electrical engineer, or fascinated with electricity or light or currents, or any of that complicated shit, this movie is right up your alley. Even though I liked it, you’ll probably even like it more than me, maybe even love. I was looking forward to this film two years ago before the Weinstein scandal fucked up its release, but now that it is finally out, and the director got to release it on his terms, I think the extra wait might’ve been worth it. Who knows really, as I’ll never see that disgusting fat fucks edit, and am glad for it. This director’s cut conducts some decent sparks all its own.