The Current War review: the Edison vs Westinghouse rivalry lights up this movie

Before Musk, Bezos and Zuckerberg, there was Edison, Westinghouse and Tesla – and The Current War captures the magic of these 19th century inventors. It’s a movie about the advent of electric currents and their ambitious inventors. Ironically, it almost didn’t see the light of day.

The Current War, set in the 1880s and ‘90s, surrounds the controversies between Thomas Edison’s DC current  and George Westinghouse’s AC current. The film was supposed to debut two years ago through distributor The Weinstein Company, only to be mired in modern day controversy and put on hiatus due to the Harvey Weinstein sexual abuse allegations.

Director Alfonso Gomez-Rejon was able to reshoot and recut the movie in that time, and it’s now opening this weekend as The Current War: Director’s Cut. 

Watching the determined Edison (Benedict Cumberbatch) and equally dedicated but more altruistic Westinghouse (Michael Shannon) echoes recent biopics like Jobs, and ‘biopics’ like The Social Network. 

Yet the history (and entertainment) here involves famed inventors you know by name, but you probably don’t know their entire backstory. You do get a sense of a decade of their lives, but not a full, start-to-finish biography of the already-established inventors in the 107 minutes runtime.

Edison vs Westinghouse

It’s a story that deserves to be told, and doesn’t hold back on the genius of Edison but also the ruthlessness of his commitment to seeing Direct Current succeed. He’s so…