Tesla
Derrick Dunn

Derrick Dunn

Tesla is one of the worst biopics of 2020

IFC Films & Millennium Media bring the story of engineer and futurist Nikola Tesla to the screen in Tesla. Written and directed by Michael Almereyda, Tesla features a quirky performance by Ethan Hawke. We first Nikola as he literally rolls onto the screen on skates and transports us back to the 1800s. Anyone who knows me can attest to the fact that the biopic is one of my favorite genres. Truth be told, I’ve even found something to like in the unauthorized biopics on Lifetime. Sadly little is known about Nikola Tesla, as the inventor didn’t care for the limelight. Instead of finding a tongue in cheek or a comedic approach, Michael Almereyda over-ambition destroys any promise in the film.

Using a public domain approach mixed with a character who spits out statistics from a Google search, Tesla is a different kind of biopic. For starters, there’s never a monologue by Tesla, which is odd for a biopic. I will give director Michael Almereyda’s bold choice, but it just doesn’t work, and mainstream audiences are sure to become bored with the film. I took the time to watch the movie during the day and found myself dozing off numerous times.

Ethan Hawke has been one of my favorite actors since his appearance in 1985’s Explores. However, in Tesla, it appears he’s just being odd and weird because he can. Following a vastly superior performance in Cut Throat City, Hawke is capable of better. Given the approach the director takes, Crispin Glover may have been a better fit for the role.

There are two moments of note in the film. The first is a Karaoke session of Tears for Fears, “Everybody Wants to Rule the Word.” The second moment is an ice cream fight between Hawke’s Nikola Tesla and Kyle MacLachlan’s Thomas Edison. Other than that, though, there isn’t too much to recommend. 

Even quality actors such as Eve Hewson, Jim Gaffigan, and Josh Hamilton are wasted as historical figures Anne Morgan, George Westinghouse, and Robert Underwood. In the end, I could’ve learned more about Tesla from visiting his Wikipedia page.

Tesla is a failed attempt at mixing Meta style jokes with impressive cinematography. The biopic of Nikola Tesla should only be sought out by history buffs.

Final Grade D 

Tesla will open in select theaters on August 21st and will be available on streaming platforms same day

Movie Clappers

More to explorer

Thor: Love and Thunder

Thor: Love and Thunder is a safe cinematic lighting strike

Stylistic director Taika Waiti makes a return to the Marvel Cinematic with Thor: Love and Thunder from Walt Disney Pictures. The Asgardian’s fourth led film finds Thor (Chris Hemsworth) on a journey unlike anything he’s ever faced, a quest for inner peace. However, a galactic killer known as Gorr the God Butcher (Christian Bale), who seeks the extinction of the gods, interrupts his retirement.

Hot Seat

Hot Seat is a burnt out thriller

Director James Cullen Bressack continues to add to his filmography of low-rated B-Movies with his latest Hot Seat from Lionsgate. IT expert Friar (Kevin Dillon) finds a hair-trigger bomb strapped to his desk chair. An unseen hacker orders him to steal digital funds online–or have his daughter abducted.

Facebook
Twitter
LinkedIn

© Copyright Reviews & Dunn. All rights reserved

website designed by Red Robin Digital designers