Film FestivalsMovie ReviewsTIFF 2017: The Current War Review

Keith NoakesSeptember 11, 2017

This will be one of many reviews during this year’s Toronto International Film Festival. If you would like to keep up with our content, click here.

Synopsis: THE CURRENT WAR is the epic story of the cutthroat competition between the greatest inventors of the industrial age over whose electrical system would power the new century. Backed by J.P. Morgan, Edison dazzles the world by lighting Manhattan. But Westinghouse, aided by Nikola Tesla, has seen fatal flaws in Edison’s direct current design. Igniting a war of currents, Westinghouse and Tesla bet everything on risky and dangerous alternating current.  (eOne Films)

Starring: Benedict Cumberbatch, Michael Shannon, and Tom Holland

Writer: Michael Mitnick

Director: Alfonso Gomez-Rejon

Rating: n/a

Running Time: 105mins


Rivalry films have existed since the beginning of film but as much as it is a rivalry film, it is a film about human innovation. It was a shame that we didn’t get enough of this here. Over the course of the film, we get to witness the rivalry between Thomas Edison (Cumberbatch) and George Westinghouse (Shannon) at arms length as they built their own competing electricity infrastructures. It was from these different perspectives that we saw the similarities and differences between their personalities. It just would have been nice to see them clash a little more than they did here.

Cumberbatch and Shannon were great apart but their relationship was lacking. Both were good at portraying each man’s eccentric personalities as well as their ambitions. Tom Holland and Katherine Waterston were also good as Edison’s assistant and Westinghouse’s wife respectively.

Overall, this was a compelling film that kept us at arms length, not giving us as deep of a rivalry that the trailers hinted at but at least features excellent performances by Cumberbatch and Shannon.

Score: 7.5/10

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