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I will open this by saying I really liked The Current War in the theater. But, since I am a fan of the time period and people involved in particular and history and biography in general, I don't know if everyone else will feel the same.
As someone who isn't a cultist of any of them, I thought all the lead actors turned in great performances (which is especially impressive given many of them are affecting accents, one of the hardest things to act with nuance through), capturing the complexity and emotional turmoil of their characters. And that's one thing I praised the movie for in the theater: the characters.
It is popular, today, to make the story of the War of the Currents a clash between Edison and Tesla, and between the brilliant, persecuted visionary and the evil, greedy jackass. There's not much truth in it, but it's popular, and I think it was what a lot of people going into this movie wanted; why many of them walked out dissatisfied that it was a fairly grounded movie about complex people, none of them clear-cut villains or heroes.
But, in not delivering on fantasy, it enjoys the fruits of reality: all of the characters in this film are decent men. They all believe in things besides money, a refreshing change from the psychotic hyper-capitalism the 80's blighted us with. And in putting lots of focus on the often-forgotten figure of George Westinghouse, the film focuses away from the myth-shrouded legends of that great time in world history and onto the people they actually were, just like 1776. And it captures some of their virtues history has forgotten, such as Edison's refusal to being his genius and methods towards inventing munitions no matter how wealthy they could have made him, or Westinghouse's sincere friendship with and generosity towards his workforce in a way modern businessmen would sneer at, without blotting out their deep flaws.
These were good men, it seems to say. They built our world, the future we live in, and they did it for the right reasons. It is tragic that they could not overcome their weaknesses enough to do so hand-in-hand, rather than at cross-purposes.
And the direction is lively, adventurous, and creative without being infuriating or up-its-own-ass. As someone who loathed the intolerably-smug and pleased-with-its-own-cleverness cinematography in Sherlock, I love the way the director used cinematic language rather than dialogue, such as the zoetrope scenes of various animals walking across the screen to demonstrate one of Edison's stunts to demonstrate the dangers of AC, or the lights igniting across the World's Fair in tandem with the dark moment the first electric chair execution was botched.
I won't pretend it's a mile-a-minute action movie, nor that it involves making Tesla a literal sorcerer the way some other films I haven't seen apparently did. It is very grounded. But the pace is actually quite fast, it rarely bogs down, and if you are willing to invest in the character drama it is very effective as a film. I recommend it to fans of history and of the kind of picture it is.
Also, coming here, I learned just how shabbily it was treated, both before and after that beast-man Weinstein finally learned the hard way that actions have consequences, so I'm inclined to support it on that metric too.
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