Callum Toole’s review published on Letterboxd:
"Power Changes Everything"
This movie has gone through A LOT to get to this point. The first trailer came out back in mid-2017 then the whole Weinstein scandal blew up. The film was originally going to be distributed by "The Weinstein Company". So when it went under, the film was shelved indefinitely along with the horror film "Polaroid"(another film released recently that I also recommend). After that nothing was heard about the film for 2 years until the summer of 2019 when 101 Studios acquired the distribution rights. Finally the film was set for a wide release on October 25th and the rest is history. Suffice it to say I NEVER thought I'd get the chance to see it in the theater! I'm so happy I did though!
For me, this film was both FASCINATING and RIVETING. I not only was consistently impressed with the film but I also learned a lot while watching it. It was just as informative as it was entertaining. The performances delivered. The story was endlessly interesting. The cinematography was warm and crisp. The score was perfectly fitting for the time period. So without further ado let's get on with it!
The performances. As stated above and as expected from this cast, they are all excellent here. Cumberbatch's "Thomas Edison" is bold, aggressive and arrogant. He plays the role with great gusto and energy. Shannon's "George Westinghouse" is much more calm and calculated than his brash opponent. He also has some of the best lines in the movie. Hoult's "Nikola Tesla" is another strong addition, playing the part with intelligence and unflinching determination. Holland's secretary to Edison, "Samuel Insull" is yet another strong supporting character. Sharing most scenes with Cumberbatch, he more than holds his own compared to the remaining cast. Lastly Macfayden's "J.P. Morgan" was a surprising presence, playing the role with a matter of fact sensibility that helped ground the film in reality.
The cinematography. It's very well done. The film has a rich glow in practically every scene, evoking feelings of warmth and friction to name a couple. Between the exterior and interior shot selection, the film not only looks great but it's also lit incredibly well too. This is in large part thanks to Chung-hoon Chung who previously shot films such as "Hotel Artemis", "IT" and the very recent "Zombieland: Double Tap". Having seen all 3 I can confidently say that he does great work. Here is no different.
The musical score. I was quite impressed with it throughout. Whenever the music in a film feels like a character, it's usually a good sign for all involved. Every composer strives to make the best score they can and when they succeed, they nail it! That's why I'm proud to say that Danny Bensi, Volker Bertelmann, Saunder Jurrinas and Dustin O'Halloran all do a top notch job here. Normally with multiple composers, a score can feel very conflicted and tonally unbalanced. Not the case at all here. All 4 of these composers somehow found a way to create something that only feels consistent throughout but also very effective too.
In conclusion, this film was a great surprise in many ways. The pacing is really good. The characters feel like real people. The story is inspiring and I left the film VERY satisfied. I hope more people start talking about this movie cause it really deserves more attention than it's getting. It's easily one of my favorite historical dramas of the last several years. With that said I'm going to give "The Current War" a solid 4/5 stars. Go out and support the movie! I genuinely think you'll be glad you did.