Michael Almereyda is directing the unconventional biopic Tesla , which stars Ethan Hawke, Eve Hewson, and Kyle MacLachlan.
It was while stroking a cat, seeing static electricity in her pet's hair, that Nicola Tesla (Ethan Hawke, perfect with his soft and husky voice at the same time) wondered if nature was not , basically, a gigantic cat. It is with this anecdote that Tesla opens, with the voice-over of Ewe Hewson (she plays Anne Morgan, the daughter of JP, the American financier). And it is by seeing these first images of Anne and Nicola spinning on roller skates that we already know that this “biopic” will be in the image of Tesla, that is to say original.
Because the filmmaker Michael Almereyda ( Hamlet from 2000, also with Ethan Hawke, but also Marjorie Prime ) has fun, transgresses and uses all possible artifices to transmit the magic of the scientist's scientific discoveries. Anachronisms are legion (Ethan Hawke sings Everybody Wants to Rule the World … by distorting!), As are the references to the present (this point recalls the Radioactivity of Marjane Satrapi, released last week) and the breaking from the fourth wall, both Ethan Hawke and Ewe Hewson speaking to moviegoers on numerous occasions.
Nicola Tesla's story is nonetheless told in great detail, from his immigration to the United States to his discoveries, including his complicated relationship with Thomas Edison (Kyle MacLachlan), presented here as exploiting Tesla's work. .
Cheerful, irreverent, and fun while still being dreadfully serious (the trial and error of the invention of the electric chair is awful), Tesla may not be able to tell exactly who Nicola Tesla was or understand his scientific process, but Michael Almereyda and Ethan Hawke offer their vision of genius, a vision necessarily confused and fuzzy, while being at the same time human and therefore fascinating.
NB: Tesla has been available in VOD and digital formats since September 22.
Rating: 3.5 out of 5