The Current War, Alfonso Gomez-Rejon’s film about the battle over electric current between Thomas Edison (Benedict Cumberbatch) and George Westinghouse (Michael Shannon), premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival in 2017 where it was poorly received and then its release was plunged further in doubt when its distributor, The Weinstein Company, imploded. The film has been stuck in limbo since then, but then it was picked up by newly formed 101 Studios, which gave Gomez-Rejon permission to create a new cut of the movie.
101 Studios has now announced that the new cut will hit theaters in limited released on October 4th before opening wide on October 11th. I’m genuinely curious to see this new cut since I thought Gomez-Rejon did a great job in terms of the visuals, but the story was poorly told. Here’s what I wrote back in 2017 from TIFF:
What’s constantly frustrating about The Current War is that it has an interesting period of history and three historically important figures, but the film has no idea how to use them. It would be like discovering electricity and then having zero applications for it. I honestly don’t know what The Current War is about even though it brushes up against notions of legacy, business, and family. Taken piecemeal, there are scenes that work like the chemistry between George Westinghouse and his wife Marguerite (Katherine Waterston), but then the film will drop Marguerite for a large chunk of the film because it has no idea what arcs to follow or how to build them.
Here’s hoping the new cut will be far superior to what was screened almost two years ago. The Current War also stars Tom Holland, Tuppence Middleton, Matthew Macfadyen, and Nicholas Hoult.
Here’s the official synopsis for The Current War:
Three brilliant visionaries set off in a charged battle for the future in The Current War, the epic story of the cutthroat competition that literally lit up the modern world. Benedict Cumberbatch is Thomas Edison, the celebrity inventor on the verge of bringing electricity to Manhattan with his radical new DC technology. On the eve of triumph, his plans are upended by charismatic businessman George Westinghouse (Michael Shannon), who believes he and his partner, the upstart genius Nikolai Tesla (Nicholas Hoult), have a superior idea for how to rapidly electrify America: with AC current. As Edison and Westinghouse grapple for who will power the nation, they spark one of the first and greatest corporate feuds in American history, establishing for future Titans of Industry the need to break all the rules. Directed by Alfonso Gomez-Rejon (Me and Earl and the Dying Girl) with Producer Timur Bekmambetov, Basil Iwanyk and Executive Producer Martin Scorsese, The Current War also stars Katherine Waterston, Tom Holland, Matthew Macfadyen and Tuppence Middleton.