THE CURRENT WAR: DIRECTOR’S CUT- Karl Sides (The Flick Fanatics)

The Current War: Director’s Cut 


Benedict Cumberbatch- Thomas Edison

Tom Holland- Samuel Insull

Michael Shannon- George Westinghouse

Nicholas Hoult- Nickola Tesla

Benedict Cumberbatch “Shines a light” on a historic battle between the men who would power America in the drama “The Current War: Directors Cut”

Director Alfonso Gomez-Rejon assembles an all-star cast to tell the tale of the battle between inventor Thomas Edison and industrialist George Westinghouse in the race to see who would illuminate America in his new film “The Current War: The Director’s Cut”. Benedict Cumberbatch is Thomas Edison, inventor who brought us the light bulb, voice recorder, phonograph, motion picture camera and the first method to deliver electricity to people a mile away from the generator. George Westinghouse (Michael Shannon) a business man who wants to work with Edison on improving the delivery of electricity by using direct current (DC) that will power homes father away and require less generators.

The film opens with Edison and his assistant Samuel Insull (Holland) unveiling their incandescent light bulb and a delivery system using AC (Alternating Current) to power numerous bulbs in a large circle, Edison lit the night and asked the business men, “Did you boys bring your check books?” J.P. Morgan did and paid Edison to develop a power grid for the country starting with New Jersey. George Westinghouse who also developed an incandescent bulb, inferior to Edison’s, but able to light up a room. Westinghouse set a dinner meeting with Edison to discuss a partnership with Edison and his bulb and Westinghouse’s delivery system using DC current. Edison had no desire to use the dangerous DC current that can kill if a person came in contact with the wires. So, a battle between the two men was born and they raced toward the World’s Fair in Chicago and to see who would “light up America”.

During the battle a third party came to light in the guise of an immigrant named Nichola Tesla (Hoult) who worked for Edison in the hopes of designing a new style of generator and power supply, only to have Edison squash his ideas. Tesla quits and flips to the other side working with Westinghouse to deliver electricity and develop a generator out of Niagara Falls!

The Current War: Director’s Cut had a battle that would change our country but no guns were fired or bombs dropped, just distribution of electricity. The cast led by Cumberbatch and Shannon is excellent and the story was educational. Edison invented almost 1000 things including the phonograph and the electric chair using Westinghouse’s DC current to execute criminals. The Current War is history and plays out like a history class, very slow and informative like a college class.

Where as I liked the performances of The Current War, I really had an issue with the pace and length of the story. Fans of Cumberbatch and Shannon should see this film at an early matinee, others may want to wait for streaming.

Rated 3/5 stars