Prisoner (Film Thoughts: The Mauritanian)

Jodie Foster winning Best Supporting Actress on The Golden Globes made me want to check out Kevin MacDonald’s ‘The Mauritianian’ right away. I mean, I probably would have eventually seen the film anyway. And I knew nothing about it going into the film. I realized then it was based on a book, a memoir by the main character of the film, Mohamedou Ould Salahi, here played by Tahar Rahim, while he was imprisoned in Guantanamo Bay. Foster plays Nancy Hollander, the lawyer who defended her against the US government.

The film is a good addition to the ‘United States sucks’ genre, and I found the story quite compelling. The film about it, is a mixed bag. The focus is all over the place, leaving the performances to ground and land it. Rahim is sensational, and Foster giving her icy-warm brand of acting (I personally think she should be in lead, not supporting) But I felt drawn in by most of it, and found the time spent worthwhile.

It’s Electric (Movie Thoughts: The Current War)

p13946044_p_v7_aa‘The Current War,’ directed by Alfonso Gomez-Rejon was originally produced by Harvey Weinstein, but two years ago the film was shuffled. Gomez-Rejon re-edited the film when it found new distributors. It felt promising to me, particularly because of the cast assembled here – Benedict Cumberbatch plays Thomas Edisona nd Michael Shannon plays George Westinghouse, and the film focuses on their rivalry on who will first bring electricity to the masses.

The problem is, we don’t really get a full sense of these characters, and while Cumberbatch and Shannon are both effective in their respective roles, they are saddled with a cumbersome script. Cue in some more characters – Nicholas Hoult as Nikolai Tesla and Tom Holland as Edison’s assistant – and you never know what the film is really trying to say. I wanted the film to work because I was rooting for all these actors (I think I would watch Hoult in anything) and while the film was shot beautifully, their words felt empty.