The Current War (12A)



Drama (2017)
108mins US

Starring: Tom Holland, Benedict Cumberbatch, Michael Shannon, Nicholas Hoult, Katherine Waterston, Tuppence Middleton
Director: Alfonso Gomez-Rejon
Writer(s): Michael Mitnick
Listings: London | Rest of UK and Ireland

In 1880, Thomas Edison lights up a section of New York with his electrical system. Principal investor JP Morgan looks forward to reaping the rewards of Edison's excellence. However, Edison's reliance on direct current makes it both expensive and labour-intensive to convey current over long distances. Businessman George Westinghouse senses an opportunity. He believes that an alternating current system could be cheaper and more efficient.

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LondonNet Film Review
The Current War (12A)

Let there be light! Sadly, there is only gloom in director Alfonso Gomez-Rejon's turgid period drama, which promises to illuminate the hard-fought battle of words and copper wires between Thomas Edison and entrepreneur George Westinghouse in the late 19th-century. The two men publicly disagreed about the best electrical system to usher America out of the gas-powered age - Edison advocated direct current while Westinghouse tethered his hopes to alternating current. The verbal rat-a-tat between two industry titans lit a fuse on the Technological Revolution...

The Current War. Copyright: The Weinstein Company. Caption: Michael Shannon as George Westinghouse and Benedict Cumberbatch as Thomas Edison in The Current War, directed by Alfonso Gomez-Rejon. Photo: Dean Rogers. All Rights Reserved.Michael Mitnick's script leaves us in the dark about the pivotal role played by maverick Croatian inventor Nikola Tesla and there are few sparks from leading men Benedict Cumberbatch and Michael Shannon. Texan filmmaker Gomez-Rejon, who previously made the quirky romantic comedy Me And Earl And The Dying Girl, is determined to energise this laboured history lesson with flashy camerawork. His showmanship behind the lens is particularly distracting in the film's opening 20 minutes, when we should be getting to know characters rather than suffering a mild bout of dizziness from the technical trickery.

The year is 1880 and Thomas Edison (Cumberbatch) is poised to light up a section of New York with his electrical system, aided by personal secretary Samuel Insull (Tom Holland). The grand unveiling is a rousing success. Principal investor JP Morgan (Matthew Macfadyen) looks forward to reaping the rewards of Edison's excellence while newspaper reporters hang on the quixotic inventor's every utterance. Edison's reliance on direct current makes it both expensive and labour-intensive to convey current over long distances and businessman George Westinghouse (Shannon) senses an opportunity. He believes that an alternating current system could be cheaper and more efficient. "I really don't think it can be done... because [Edison] would have already done it," an assistant tells Westinghouse. The two men trade verbal blows as their respective businesses duel for supremacy and Nikola Tesla (Nicholas Hoult) joins Edison's team of bright young things. As Edison loses ground on Westinghouse, he takes a calculated decision to link alternating current with the first electric chair, connecting his rival in the public's mind with the "barbaric" practice of taking a human life.

Originally scheduled for release in 2017 before The Weinstein Company filed for bankruptcy, The Current War fights a losing battle from those eye-catching opening frames. Cumberbatch and Shannon are powerless to plug us into their flawed, emotionally complex characters and Tuppence Middleton and Katherine Waterston are largely wasted as Edison and Westinghouse's supportive spouses. Period detail is solid, enhanced with costumes and make-up including a fine set of mutton chops for Holland, who comes back down to earth with a thud after his gravity-defying heroics this summer as Spider-Man.

- Sam Cannon

The Current War. Copyright: The Weinstein Company. Caption: Michael Shannon as George Westinghouse and Benedict Cumberbatch as Thomas Edison in The Current War, directed by Alfonso Gomez-Rejon. Photo: Dean Rogers. All Rights Reserved.


London Cinemas



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Rest of UK and Irish Cinemas

Listed in alphabetical order by city/place name followed by cinema name.

From Friday 9th August
To Thursday 15th August

- Aberdeen, Cineworld Aberdeen - Union Square
- Alton, Palace Cinema
- Altrincham, Vue Altrincham (Apollo)
- Arklow, Arklow Omniplex
- Ashbourne, Vue Ashbourne
- Basildon, Cineworld Basildon
- Basingstoke, Vue Basingstoke Festival Place
- Bicester, Vue Bicester
- Blackburn, Vue Blackburn
- Blackpool, The Reel Picture
- Boldon Colliery, Cineworld Boldon Tyne And Wear
- Bolton, Vue Bolton
- Bristol, Vue Bristol Cribbs Causeway
- Bristol, Vue Bristol Longwell Green
- Bury, Vue Bury The Rock
- Camberley, Vue Camberley
- Cambridge, Arts Picturehouse
- Cambridge, The Light Cinema, Cambridge
- Cambridge, Vue Cambridge
- Cardiff, Chapter
- Carmarthen, Vue Carmarthen (Apollo)
- Cleethorpes, Parkway Cinema
- Cramlington, Vue Cramlington
- Crawley, Cineworld Crawley
- Darlington, Vue Darlington
- Doncaster, Vue Doncaster
- Dublin, Cineworld Dublin
- Dublin, Movies @ Dundrum
- Dublin, Movies @ Swords
- Dublin, Vue Dublin
- Edinburgh, Cineworld Edinburgh
- Edinburgh, Vue Edinburgh Ocean Terminal
- Edinburgh, Vue Edinburgh Omni Centre
- Ellesmere Port, Vue Cheshire Oaks
- Exeter, Vue Exeter
- Falkirk, Cineworld Falkirk
- Gateshead, Vue Gateshead
- Glasgow, Cineworld Glasgow - Renfrew Street
- Glasgow, Odeon Glasgow Springfield Quay
- Glasgow, Vue Glasgow Fort
- Grays, Vue Thurrock
- Greenhithe, Showcase Cinema De Lux Bluewater
- Halifax, Vue Halifax
- Hamilton, Vue Hamilton
- Hemel Hempstead, Cineworld Hemel Hempstead
- Horsham, The Capitol
- Hull, Vue Hull Princes Quay
- Huntingdon, Cineworld Huntingdon
- Inverness, Vue Inverness
- Kendal, Brewery Arts Centre
- Knutsford, Curzon Knutsford
- Lancaster, The Dukes
- Lancaster, Vue Lancaster
- Leamington Spa, Vue Leamington Spa (Apollo)
- Leeds, Cineworld Leeds
- Leeds, Vue Leeds Kirkstall Road
- Leeds, Vue Leeds The Light
- Leicester, Phoenix
- Liverpool, Everyman Liverpool
- Livingston, Vue Livingston
- Llanelli, Cross Hands Public Hall
- Malvern, Malvern Theatres
- Manchester, Odeon Manchester Great Northern
- Manchester, Odeon Trafford Centre
- Manchester, Vue Manchester Printworks
- Middlesbrough, Cineworld Middlesbrough
- Newcastle-under-Lyme, Vue Newcastle-under-Lyme
- Newcastle upon Tyne, Cineworld Newcastle Upon Tyne
- Newport, Cineworld Isle Of Wight
- Northampton, Vue Northampton
- Norwich, Odeon Norwich
- Norwich, Vue Norwich
- Omagh, IMC Omagh
- Oxford, Curzon Oxford
- Paignton, Vue Torbay (Apollo)
- Plymouth, Vue Plymouth
- Poole, Cineworld Poole
- Portsmouth, Vue Portsmouth
- Preston, Vue Preston
- Reading, Showcase Cinema De Lux Reading
- Reading, Vue Reading
- Rushden, Cineworld Rushden Lakes
- Salford, Vue Manchester Lowry
- Sheffield, Cineworld Sheffield
- Sheffield, The Light Cinema, Sheffield
- Sheffield, Vue Sheffield
- Southampton, Harbour Lights Picturehouse
- Southport, Vue Southport
- Stevenage, Cineworld Stevenage
- St Helens, Cineworld St Helens
- Stillorgan, Odeon Stillorgan
- Stirling, MacRobert Arts Centre
- Stirling, Vue Stirling
- Stockport, The Light Cinema, Stockport
- Swansea, Vue Swansea
- Tavistock, Tavistock Wharf
- Thanet, Vue Westwood Cross
- Watford, Vue Watford
- Woodbridge, The Riverside
- York, Vue York
From Friday 16th August
To Thursday 22nd August

- Aberdeen, Vue Aberdeen
- Altrincham, Vue Altrincham (Apollo)
- Ashbourne, Vue Ashbourne
- Basildon, Cineworld Basildon
- Basingstoke, Vue Basingstoke Festival Place
- Bicester, Vue Bicester
- Blackburn, Vue Blackburn
- Bolton, Vue Bolton
- Bristol, Vue Bristol Cribbs Causeway
- Bristol, Vue Bristol Longwell Green
- Bury, Vue Bury The Rock
- Caernarfon, Galeri Caernarfon
- Camberley, Vue Camberley
- Cambridge, Vue Cambridge
- Carlisle, Vue Carlisle
- Carmarthen, Vue Carmarthen (Apollo)
- Consett, Empire Theatre
- Cramlington, Vue Cramlington
- Cwmbran, Vue Cwmbran
- Darlington, Vue Darlington
- Dartmouth, The Flavel
- Doncaster, Vue Doncaster
- Dublin, Vue Dublin
- Eastleigh, Vue Eastleigh
- Edinburgh, Vue Edinburgh Ocean Terminal
- Edinburgh, Vue Edinburgh Omni Centre
- Ellesmere Port, Vue Cheshire Oaks
- Exeter, Vue Exeter
- Farnborough, Vue Farnborough
- Gateshead, Vue Gateshead
- Glasgow, Odeon Glasgow Springfield Quay
- Glasgow, Vue Glasgow Fort
- Grays, Vue Thurrock
- Halifax, Vue Halifax
- Hamilton, Vue Hamilton
- Hebden Bridge, Hebden Bridge Picture House
- Hemel Hempstead, Cineworld Hemel Hempstead
- Hull, Vue Hull Princes Quay
- Inverness, Vue Inverness
- Lancaster, Vue Lancaster
- Leamington Spa, Vue Leamington Spa (Apollo)
- Leeds, Vue Leeds Kirkstall Road
- Leeds, Vue Leeds The Light
- Leicester, Vue Leicester
- Livingston, Vue Livingston
- Lowestoft, Marina Theatre
- Lynton, Lynton Cinema
- Manchester, Odeon Manchester Great Northern
- Manchester, Vue Manchester Printworks
- Melton Mowbray, Regal Cinema
- Merthyr Tydfil, Vue Merthyr Tydfil
- Newbury, Corn Exchange
- Newbury, Vue Newbury
- Newcastle-under-Lyme, Vue Newcastle-under-Lyme
- Northampton, Vue Northampton
- Norwich, Vue Norwich
- Oxford, Vue Oxford
- Paignton, Vue Torbay (Apollo)
- Penistone, Paramount Cinema
- Plymouth, Vue Plymouth
- Poole, Lighthouse, Poole's Centre For The Arts
- Portsmouth, Vue Portsmouth
- Preston, Vue Preston
- Reading, Showcase Cinema De Lux Reading
- Reading, Vue Reading
- Redditch, Vue Redditch (Apollo)
- Sandwich, Empire Cinema
- Scunthorpe, Vue Scunthorpe
- Shrewsbury, The Old Market Hall
- Southport, Vue Southport
- Stevenage, Cineworld Stevenage
- Stillorgan, Odeon Stillorgan
- Stirling, Vue Stirling
- Swansea, Vue Swansea
- Thanet, Vue Westwood Cross
- Wallingford, Corn Exchange
- Watford, Vue Watford
- Wotton-under-Edge, Electric Picture House
- York, Vue York


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