Cert 12A 108mins Stars 2
The star wattage of Benedict Cumberbatch is insufficient to transform this shockingly static historical drama into electrifying entertainment.
As work-obsessed inventor Thomas Edison he’s in conflict with Michael Shannon as arch-rival George Westinghouse to supply electricity to the homes and businesses of the US in late nineteenth century. Nicholas Hoult and Tom ‘Spider-man’ Holland also appear.
There are deaths as in any war, with the most notable here being William Kemmler, the first victim of the electrical chair, collateral damage from whom both innovators are keen to distance themselves from.
But the only really moving fatality is a horse who is sacrificed in pursuit of a tactical advantage.
Despite being stitched together with handsomely designed CGI cityscapes and stuffed full of corporate espionage, ambition, tragedy and world changing inventions such as the electric light bulb and cinema, the drama lies as inert as Frankenstein’s monster on the slab, waiting in vain for an electricity to jolt it to life.