This week's release of the re-edited edition of The Current War has been able to shed the previous cut's negative Rotten Tomatoes score. In 2017, an initial cut of the film was shown at the Toronto Film Festival and received scathing reviews. Only a month later, reports detailing sexual assault allegations against producer Harvey Weinstein surfaced and resulted in his downfall. The Current War was shelved along with the entirety of The Weinstein Company's slate. It was unclear if the film would ever be released until this year.
The Current War follows the race for electrical supremacy in the late 1800s and the brilliant men who sought it. Benedict Cumberbatch plays Thomas Edison, Michael Shannon plays George Westinghouse, and Nicholas Hoult is Nikola Tesla. The cast also includes Tom Holland, Katherine Waterston, and Tuppence Middleton. The film's director, Alfonso Gomez-Rejon (Me and Earl and the Dying Girl), was given the opportunity to re-edit the project for this release, making it officially known as The Current War: Director's Cut.
As noted by Twitter user jof, there are two separate Rotten Tomatoes entries for The Current War: One is for the re-edited version, while the other holds the reviews for the 2017 version. The 2017 version, due to the poor reviews from TIFF, stands at a 31%. It also takes reviews from this year into account, as the 2017 version was released in the UK in July. The Current War: Director's Cut's current score is a mostly positive 67%.
This is a major improvement from the previous score and seems to be largely due to Gomez-Rejon's influences. He has stated on several occasions that he did not approve of the 2017 cut and longed to make the film exactly as he wished to. Weinstein's control, however, made that difficult and was what led to the disastrous TIFF debut.
Some people seem irritated by Rotten Tomatoes giving The Current War two separate entries, and it can be easy to see why. For critics in the UK, they have not been given the opportunity to see the re-edited version. They can only base their reviews on what they did see, which was a vastly different film. However, since it was a different film, it would not be fair for the negative reviews of the first Current War to affect the second. The Current War was an unwilling victim of Weinstein's fall from grace. Gomez-Rejon and everyone else involved deserve the chance to have their movie be seen without his mark on it. It remains to be seen if The Current War: Director's Cut will be embraced by audiences, but it already seems to be superior to the initial cut.
- The Current War (2019) release date: Oct 25, 2019