My goal is always to see one movie a week. I often don’t meet that goal. In October, I saw only one movie for the entire month. Unfortunately, it was The Current War. It stars Benedict Cumberbatch as Thomas Edison, Michael Shannon as George Westinghouse, and Nicholas Hoult as Tesla and tells the story of the battle over whether alternating current (AC) or direct current (DC) would power our electrical infrastructure. The answer, of course, is that AC would win. I have seen lots of movies for which I knew the result of the narrative question so this isn’t what made this movie so disappointing. The movie-making itself was problematic. There were lots of skewed camera angles and shots of bizarre scene elements whose purpose was unclear. There was one extended “shaky camera” sequence that was nausea-inducing without a point. But the main problem with the movie was the lack of narrative arc and engagement. There were several scenes that should have evoked an emotional response (Edison’s wife dies, for example) but which were unusually cold and lifeless. Very disappointing movie despite a stellar cast.
I am currently Professor of Digital Media at Plymouth State University in Plymouth, NH. I am also the current Coordinator of General Education at the University. I am interested in astrophotography, game studies, digital literacies, open pedagogies, and generally how technology impacts our culture.