Tesla review – portrait of an inventor out of step with his time

Ethan Hawke and Kyle MacLachlan star in Michael Almereyda’s humorous and ambitious film about the under-appreciated visionaryEvery historical drama involves some element of pure invention: maybe it happened like this? Perhaps she said it like that? But Michael Almereyda’s biopic of the Serbian-American inventor Nikola Tesla (1856 – 1943), is rather more open about this process than most.

Ethan Hawke, who also starred in the director’s contemporary New York-set Hamlet 20 years ago, plays the under-appreciated visionary.

Now, Tesla has a clean energy company named in his honour, is thought to have predicted the internet age, and has been played on screen several times, most recently by Nicholas Hoult in The Current War.

But he died in poverty after alienating his wealthy investors and consequently struggling to obtain the funding to realise his grand visions.

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