Rival inventors and businessmen Thomas Edison and George Westinghouse are locked in a titanic struggle for control of the future of electricity in the first trailer for The Current War. The Weinstein Company produced the historical drama, written by Michael Mitnick (Vinyl) and directed by Alfonso Gomez-Rejon (Me and Earl and the Dying Girl).
Benedict Cumberbatch stars as Edison the great American inventor, who wants to light up the world with his direct current electrical system. Opposing him is enormously wealthy engineer and businessman George Westinghouse, played by Michael Shannon, who wants to carve out his own piece of the electrified future. Westinghouse's wild card in the battle with Edison is the brilliant young inventor Nikola Tesla, played by Nicholas Hoult.
The trailer for The Current War (via eOne Films) lays out the struggle for supremacy at the heart of the movie. On one side is the scrappy Edison, who knows that his great invention will change the world forever, and wants to ensure that he himself reaps the financial rewards. On the other side is the wealthy Westinghouse, who is already established as a giant of industry but knows that if he doesn't get in on the electrical revolution, he will be left behind. The trailer cagily holds off until the end on introducing the film's third major character, the eccentric inventor Nikola Tesla, who will change the game forever by introducing alternating current, a competing and superior electrical system to Edison's direct current.
Mostly made up of quick dialog snippets and images that tease the film's period setting and give a sense of its mood, the trailer gives away little in terms of plot. The clip largely sets the film up as a showcase for its two lead actors, Cumberbatch and Shannon, with the third lead Hoult as something of a mystery player. Given the film's subject matter and tone, Cumberbatch and Shannon will no doubt both generate Oscar buzz with their performances.
Visually the film is bound to draw comparisons with Christopher Nolan's The Prestige, which also featured the character of Nikola Tesla (played memorably by David Bowie). In terms of subject matter and treatment, however, the film is already being compared to David Fincher's The Social Network. How will Mitnick and Gomez-Rejon make this story of a century-old rivalry between a pair of ambitious, egotistical and stubborn men into the stuff of compelling drama? It helps having actors the caliber of Cumberbatch and Shannon in the central roles, but the story will still have a lot of work to do in selling the audience on why they should become involved in what feels like an obscure bit of history.
The Current War also stars Katherine Waterston, Tom Holland, Tuppence Middleton and Matthew Macfadyen.
Source: eOne Films
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