Thank you again for your review Mllemass. I am glad you enjoyed it and it sounds like a movie to be savoured several times over. Besides BC's role I am also very curious about the visuals (after seeing another film by the same DOP). And like you I want to focus on how BC interacted with the young actors who played Edison's children. I think his own real life experience as a father will only help to enhance his performance as an on-screen father.
I will be looking for the points you made in your post when I get to see the film for myself.
"You're going into the water... short-arse!" - Sherlock
I just read a positive review that only gave it a 6/10! The only negative comment was about the ending - they said it went on too long - so such a low score makes no sense. Anyway, why are they fixated on a particular scene that bugged them? Weren't the press informed that there would be some changes still to come?
It may fare better with non-fest critics. I've seen that before. They're tougher from an awards perspective.
The Woman in Gold, for instance, was murdered out of Berlin yet still ended up with a 55% on Rotten Tomatoes. Not great, but it started with a 0% after the fest because it got all rotten reviews. TWC is at 17% but missing two reviews from RT-approved sources that should be positives, so it could very well end up certified fresh on there once the avalanche of non-fest reviews come.
I know I have to stop reading reviews because it's making me crazy. But I figured that the people who hosted press conferences and photoshoots would be decent in what they say about a movie. But no! Now they're all just quoting each other's bad reviews.
I just have to say, though, that if you describe the plot of a movie as "confusing", then maybe you shouldn't be reviewing movies for a living. They did this when reviewing Sherlock, too. I can understand Steven Moffat being so upset, telling people to use their brains. I think the reviewers use the excuse of being concerned about the average movie-goer who's too dumb to follow what's going on. But I think it's the reviewers themselves who need the plots dumbed-down.
More and more articles are being posted that refer to TCW's low Rotten Tomatoes rating. They're all quoting the same source that neglected to mention that there are only 13 reviews, and only five of those are "Top Critics" . If someone didn't feel like searching RT for themselves, they might believe that the low score was based on hundreds of reviews - at it should be once the movie is finished and released.
I found this online film reviewer who posted this a few days ago. I just wanted to show everyone that not everyone hated it, and it's too early to declare this movie a failure.
I've removed the spoilery parts.
★★★★★ 4th October 2017 A movie review of THE CURRENT WAR. By Hemanth Kissoon Seen at the Toronto International Film Festival 2017. “At 32 I wrestled nature into a glass,” Thomas Edison (Benedict Cumberbatch)
Edison. Tesla. Westinghouse. With three months to go, THE CURRENT WAR is my favourite film of 2017 so far. Can it be beaten? THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE UGLY meets THE SOCIAL NETWORK. What a dynamic presentation of genius. The experience reminds of JAWS, Steven Spielberg using every tool in his toolbox to tell the story. Split screen. Time lapse. God’s eye camerawork. Etc. Etc. A drama as exhilarating as a great thriller. How many period movies are staid, rainy afternoon television staples? Dry and anodyne this is not. Director Alfonso Gomez-Rejon already showing promise with ME AND EARL AND THE DYING GIRL takes it to a new level. Surely every studio must now have him on their blockbuster tent-pole shortlists? 1880, we are told the world is still lit by fire. Inspired by true events, the opening voice over from Edison tells us of his rise from poverty. New Jersey, December, the passengers on a train disembark. Moving through a field, the lead oil lamp is blown out. And then, wow! The area is stunningly lit in concentric circles by electric light bulbs. A scientific revolution has been witnessed.
“I trust you brought your chequebooks,” he states. A line that speaks much to Edison’s conundrums: The need to be adequately compensated (as he feels his earlier work has been stolen and without him sharing in the profits), and the need for large-scale funding to remain competitive. These two lines go to one of THE CURRENT WAR’s several cores: Edison’s reluctance to collaborate, because of weariness of intellectual property theft, and also arrogance at not seeing brilliance in anyone but himself. Another, teamwork, whether in collegiate form or friendship or spousal support, is how we may succeed in life, or at least not get left behind. Is the film implying a socialist concept among the story of a business race? The way Edison derisively speaks to banker J.P. Morgan (Matthew Macfadyen), is that wish fulfilment after the 2008 financial crash?
From New Jersey, the camera stylishly whirls across the cosmos in bird’s eye view fashion to Pittsburgh, and the home of soon-to-be rival, George Westinghouse (Michael Shannon) and Marguerite Westinghouse (Katherine Waterston). They represent integrity and progressiveness. Westinghouse is shown to treat his workers well. Unlike so many period dramas, where women are wallfowers or purveyors of gossip, Waterston is given a meaty role. Marguerite is intelligent and educated, and a fine advisor (spouse or not). At their Pittsburgh residence, a party is deftly and enjoyably used to explain the stakes. The camera moves among the guests in fluid grace. Who doesn’t love a movie showing-off, right?
So not only is THE CURRENT WAR deliriously presenting business and science in the battle to light and power America, the death penalty is brought in. Hanging is unreliable. The state of Buffalo is interested in this new form of energy as a method of killing. Morality is examined. These pioneers are rightly disgusted at being involved in something so barbaric as capital punishment. However, Edison does not come off well.
Beyond the cerebral thrills of THE CURRENT WAR, a heart beats too. There is emotion, and not sentimentally.
Wait till you meet Nikola Tesla (Nicholas Hoult). After David Bowie in THE PRESTIGE and now Hoult, one is itching for a cinema project just about this genius.
It's not a positive review but it's very nice to the actors:
Cumberbatch’s Edison is intriguing. In the spectrum of his character, he slides from a playful family-man to an aggressive egotist pulsating with hubris. This slide is linked to two growing tragedies, one personal and one professional.
What the film does pointedly is to fuse these two worlds together; Work becomes achingly personal and we’re shown glimpses of the ruthlessness which characterised Edison’s life. To this end, Cumberbatch is really quite excellent, channeling the same burning intellectualism of Alan Turing and Sherlock Holmes through the knowing grin of a showman, even if the audience is saved somewhat from Edison’s sharpest edges.
Ok, so I went to see it yesterday (unfortunately, in dubbing). Just for once Italy is showing something in advance, lol. I liked the film very much and heard other people from the audience expressing positive views, as well. The photography is beautiful, I appreciated the direction as well. The actors excellent. I especially enjoyed Tom Holland as Edison's secretary. There are several inaccuracies (but the film states clearly that is only INSPIRED on real facts) but the film sells the sense of wonder at the dawn of the new era very well. It's a pity Tesla hasn't been given a more prominent role in the plot, there was so much potential there. All this said, IMO it is just a solid piece of historical cinema. Performances are very good, about B. I can say only the usual: he was excellent. However, his Edison is not particularly memorable - I mean, not enough to become an iconic portrayal. I think Assange or Turing or even Cunnings were a bigger challenge for his acting range (Yes, I know I had some complaints about Brexit, but on the afterthought he did some "new" things there, new for him, I mean).
I don't think it will be well received by critics so I just hope general audiences like it. Some "professionals" claim it sounds boring but there's actually some interest in certain quarters for the theme. The only problem is that those people tend to love Tesla much more than Edison! That's why a lot of publicity is named him even when he isn't that important to the core drama.
It's not a positive review but it's very nice to the actors:
I read the review and it wasn’t really negative, either. It’s typical of the reviews that go on about what the movie should have been - in this case, they want it to be about Tesla. They think Edison is boring and Tesla is interesting, so why isn’t the movie about Tesla? I guess I didn’t know enough about Tesla when I saw the movie to be bothered that he wasn’t in it more.