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|Originaltitel:||The Current War|
|Laufzeit:||Ca. 102 min.|
|FSK:||From 6 years|
Shortly before the beginning of the 20th century, a competition has been ignited which is to lead people into a new age: The eccentric inventor Thomas Edison (Benedict Cumberbatch) is about to illuminate an entire street in Manhattan with electric light for the first time. This breakthrough makes him famous overnight. From now on there is only one goal for him: He wants to supply the whole country with his electricity. But it's not only the lack of finances that stands in his way, but also his competitor, the wealthy entrepreneur George Westinghouse (Michael Shannon). Encouraged by his ambitious wife Marguerite (Katherine Waterson), Westinghouse wants to win the race for America's electricity supply. To do so, he secures the help of the still unknown young inventor Nikola Tesla (Nicholas Hoult), who gives the entrepreneur a clear lead in the competition. As more and more cities fall to Westinghouse's alternating current system, the pressure on Edison becomes ever greater: can his invention still prevail and does he manage to remain true to his ideals?
"Edison - A Life Full of Light" has come a long way until its publication. Originally, the true rivalry between Thomas Edison's Direct Current and George Westinghouse Alternating Current - the "Current War", which the film is originally called - was supposed to be released three years ago. But after the accusations against producer Harvey Weinstein, all the films of the Weinstein Company were put on hold and the rights were resold. After a few re-shoots and extensive post-production, the film was released in the USA and Great Britain at the end of 2019, but could not really convince either critics or viewers. Due to the Corona Pandemic the theatrical release in Germany was further delayed, but now the historical drama is coming to us.
As a biopic the film actually has some weaknesses, as director Alfonso Gomez-Rejon and screenwriter Michael Mitnick allowed themselves some clear narrative freedom especially in the characterization of Thomas Edison. Yet, as a historical drama with a true background the movie can be quite convincing - if only because of the great cast. Surely, Benedict Cumberbatch once again plays a rather eccentric role, as he embodied it so often. And Tom Holland, who already appeared in the "Avengers" besides Cumberbatch, remains a bit pale. But all in all it's a lot of fun to watch this great ensemble, even if there are dramaturgical lengths here and there.
The camera work is really fascinating at some points and the soundtrack is also very atmospheric. Thus, there is a thoroughly positive overall impression at the end, even if it isn't very sustainable. For that the movie just turned out too conventional. However, if you just want to enjoy an entertaining historical drama with lots of showmanship and can accept some dramaturgical freedom, then "Edison - A Life Full of Light" is definitely worth a try. Worth seeing!
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