“Is nature a gigantic cat? And if so, who strokes its back?”

The fact that Steve and JJ both enjoyed Michael Almereyda’s 2015 film Experimenter would lead you to believe that they would be inclined to enjoy his 2020 film TESLA. But anachronisms abound! Edison scrolling on a smartphone? Tesla karaoke? Just what is going on in this film?

Steve and JJ debate the type of film this is. Is it a narrative? Is it a documentary? Is it a docu-narrative? Does a narrator telling us that an event we see portrayed in the film is “pretty surely not how it happened” allow us to question the veracity of everything we see? Who is singing karaoke, Nikola Tesla or Ethan Hawke? They may not agree on the answers, but what they do agree on is that this is a film that takes risks, even if trips over itself, stumbles, and struggles to tell a coherent story.

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Film Sundries

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