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The Current War: Off the Shelf and Plugged In

Posted by November 26th, 2019 No Comments »

The Current War: Director’s Cut (2017)
Directed by Alfonso Gomez-Rejon
Starring Tom Holland, Benedict Cumberbatch, Nicholas Hoult & Michael Shannon

When films are shelved, it used to be a great mystery that added to it’s lore. …part of the prelude that builds anticipation before it’s shared with the unwashed masses.

No mystery, though, with The Current War. It wrapped in 2017, right as we learned that producer Harvey Weinstein, who produced and oversaw this excellent film’s editing process, had systematically created an environment of sexual assault that had ruined the lives of countless people who came into his orbit. Wisely, director Alfonso Gomez-Rejon shelved it.

I’m glad Rejon was able to distance this great movie from it’s original producer. Two years after it was finished, this brilliant movie is now making the theater circuit.

The Current War story is built around an Oscar-worthy story of American ingenuity, written by Michael Mitnick. The great cast give impeccable performances, but none more so than Michael Shannon, who plays George Westinghouse (the lessor-known player in the current wars behind Edison, Tesla and even J.P. Morgan, played with flair by Matthew Macfadyen). What I assumed was a film about an epic battle between Edison and Tesla is actually a film about pragmatism with Westinghouse at its center. 

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As the film came to a close, I wanted more: more stellar performances; more history and more of the beautifully-realized late 1800’s America.

Was The Current War worth the wait? Absolutely. And it may also be worth the wait for Rejon and all the actors come award season.

If Apocalypse Now is a an A and Mad Max: Fury Road is a B than fellow shelved but eventually released film The Current War is a B+

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