The Current War Movie Review: Benedict Cumberbatch, Michael Shannon's Film Stops Short of Electrifying Us!
The Current War review (Photo Credits: Twitter)

Benedict Cumberbatch and Tom Holland's association surpassed their times as Marvel superheroes thanks to Alfonso Gomez-Rejon's The Current War. The film originally released back in 2017 and was then distributed by Harvey Weinstein. However, following the sexual abuse allegations directed towards Weinstein, the movie had to briefly be shelved and kept on hold. However, as the furore over Weinstein's case reduced, two years later, the makers once again decided it would be best to share the movie with the world. In fact, the film's runtime was even clipped as opposed to the original version by ten minutes. Did all this delay and new edits help the film? We'll find out soon.

The story revolves around the 'current war' between electricity stalwarts Thomas Alva Edison (Benedict Cumberbatch) and George Westinghouse (Michael Shannon). Basically, the two greatest innovators born during the industrial age, ended up in two different teams as they tried to make their products work for the betterment of the society. Interestingly, neither of them considered their wealth or money in general to be the motivating factor behind taking up such a challenging project.

Benedict Cumberbatch and Tom Holland's The Current War Went from Being a Musical to a Film in a Ten-Year Writing Process Reveals Michael Mitnick

However, it was the competition and several other factors (explained in the film) that brought about the bitter rivalry. Edison's DC current that lit the streets and houses of Manhattan was backed by J.P. Morgan while Westinghouse put forth a cheaper and efficient AC current technology. Needless to say, their competition turned rather too ugly. The plot further delves into details of the kind of individuals Edison and Westinghouse were and how their rivalry turned them into memorable characters in the face of American history. Wimbledon 2019: When Loki Meets Doctor Strange! Tom Hiddleston and Benedict Cumberbatch Arrive to Cheer for Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic

The Current War trailer

In terms of performance, this is definitely not an aspect that could bring the film down. In fact, the performance of Benedict Cumberbatch and Michael Shannon as two diverse personalities being toyed by their own innovative minds is spotless. You grow to love and hate and love again, their characters. As the movie inches towards the big finale, you realise how you are rooting for both, Edison as well as Westinghouse. That is the power of their performance in the movie. Even the supporting leads like Nicholas Hoult, who played Nikola Tesla, Matthew Macfadyen as J.P. Morgan, Tuppence Middleton as Mary Edison and Tom Holland as Edison's secretary Samuel Insull, have all done justice to their parts. From Being Kidnapped To Teaching English In India, Here Are Some Facts You Don't Know About Benedict Cumberbatch!

What brings the film's energy to an all-time low is the direction, the editing and even the camera work. Shabby is the word for the camera work which simply just tries to be pretentious and artsy when in reality, it's just achieving nothing but some sulks from the audience. Turns out right after the original film released in 2017, director Alfonso Gomez-Rejon got some advice from Martin Scorcese and trimmed few minutes from the film. But would that have made any difference to the confusing and chaotic direction? The first few minutes itself bring the energy of the film down which only picks up because the information provided on the screen and the performance are engaging. Perhaps the writer, Michael Mitnick, must also take some responsibility for the haphazard approach.


- Benedict Cumberbatch and Michael Shannon's performance

- Intriguing topic

- Impeccable supporting cast


- Terrible direction by Alfonso Gomez-Rejon

- Haphazard writing by Michael Mitnick

- Not a very well-researched movie

- Shabby cinematography

Final Word

It is an informative film which provides an ample amount of knowledge in terms of the personalities that George Westinghouse and Thomas Alva Edison were. The war between them specifically also gives an insight into how individuals often get their hands dirty to achieve things they want in life. The performance of the actors, as stated above, are topnotch. However, with the way the story and the direction have been handled, it's not worth all the effort. Might as well, Google up the actual personalities and read up on what you've missed.