Movie Review: Teslafy Me

By Thom Compton 05.12.2019


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Teslafy Me (UK Rating: Unrated)

Teslafy Me is a documentary that explores the life of the great, and by many accounts, underrated, inventor, Nikola Tesla. An immigrant who came to USA and was one of the minds behind the so-called 'Current War,' Tesla's life was a mix of high successes and ultimately disappointing lows. Teslafy Me tries it's best to, in just over 60 minutes, encapsulate this man's achievements, but never really manages to accomplish any of its own.
 
From a cinematography standpoint, this is extremely pleasant to look at. Shots of city streets and skylines are heavily peppered in, presumably as a reminder of Tesla's achievements. They are directed impeccably, perfectly framing each moment on the screen like a moving work of art. Additionally, the film uses a lot of historical footage, especially of Tesla's rival, Thomas Edison, to great effect. Amidst all of this, though, the narrator manages to get his lines out, and really not much else.
 
This is a very rudimentary documentary, and the narrator's performance is so typical, it does nothing to elevate the experience as a whole. Perhaps a slightly more nuanced or emotional performance would have done some good, but by all accounts, this is the same kind of narration you'd expect from any other science documentary. Furthermore, the documentary fumbles audio a lot. Even though the audio for the narrator is easy to listen to, several of the interviews simply aren't. While most are fine, several of them are difficult to hear or scratchy sounding. Interviews in this film aren't great to begin with, but this failure is instantly noticeable and extremely annoying.

 

 
Worse yet, the interviewees are all over the place in terms of their actual relation to Tesla. This is even more bizarre considering very few of them get any real screen time. Between a celebrity numerologist and an actress, it feels like the film needed to find anyone who knew anything about this guy and just stick them on screen every chance they got. Many of the people being interviewed aren't really doing anything other praising Tesla and his triumphs, so they just feel redundant.

This isn't to say every interview or bit of exposition isn't ultimately interesting. It just would have been nice if they had taken some time to focus on those interviewees. Ultimately, this film fails to be great or even memorable due to its short runtime. By all accounts, this is a pretty traditional documentary, and if you find Tesla interesting, it will serve you just fine.

5/10
Rated 5 out of 10

Average

Teslafy Me is about as paint by numbers a documentary as one is likely to find. This makes its shortcomings very bizarre, and its runtime makes them very noticeable. The film is shot beautifully, and the subject matter is interesting. However, thanks to redundant interviews, run of the mill narration, and audio issues, this is really just a subpar documentary with pretty paint on top of it.

 

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