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

Small Engine Repair

Small Engine Repair is a different look at male bonding

Playwright John Pollono adapts one of his plays in Small Engine Repair from Vertical Entertainment for the big screen. Frankie (John Pollono), Swain (Jon Bernthal), and Packie (Shea Whigham) are lifelong friends who share a love of the Red Sox, rowdy bars, and Frankie’s teenaged daughter Crystal (Ciara Bravo).

Wild Indian

Wild Indian is an intense character study

Lyle Mitchell Corbine Jr. makes an impressive directorial debut in Wild Indian from Vertical Entertainment. Decades after covering up his classmate’s murder, Michael (Michael Greyeyes) has moved on from his reservation and fractured past. Upon release from prison, Ted-O (Chaske Spencer), a man who shares his violent secret, seeks vengeance

Reminiscence

Reminiscence is a mixture of movies you’ve seen before

Director Lisa Joy reunites The Greatest Showman co-stars Hugh Jackman and Rebecca Ferguson in Reminiscence from Warner Bros. Nick Bannister (Hugh Jackman), a private investigator, navigates the minds darkly fascinating world of the past by helping his clients access lost memories.

Share on facebook
Facebook
Share on google
Google+
Share on twitter
Twitter
Share on linkedin
LinkedIn

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

© Copyright Reviews & Dunn. All rights reserved

website designed by Red Robin Digital designers