Nikola Tesla has and will continue to be a hero to many. He was brilliant, knew many things and yet was an underdog.
It is a winning combination that has intrigued a lot of people since his death in 1943. Many years ago, I knew a girl who idolised him. To make her happy, I found a way to get her a book on the man. It wasn’t through the most legal of ways.
In Michael Almereyda’s film Tesla, the scientist is played by Ethan Hawke. Or, at least, Hawke plays some version of Tesla.
At some point, his Tesla sings Everybody Wants to rule the World, the 1985 song from Tears for Fears. It is extremely difficult to explain what leads to the rendition. But there is Thomas Edison and JP Morgan on the screen at some point.
Tesla is not an accessible film and is only partly a biographical story of the great scientist. A lot of it is Almereyda playing with…well, I don’t know. There is anachronism, there is overindulgence, and there is the musical performance mentioned earlier. What isn’t there is easier to say: the cool, cleverness of Tesla imagined by Christopher Nolan in The Prestige. That movie had its own convolutions to be sure, but if that film required two viewings to get what was going on, one needs two sessions raised to the power of, say, 24 to get what is happening here.
But don’t take my word for it. See Tesla when it comes to a streaming platform you can access. At the minimum, that would be one thing that is accessible.