Napoleon Movie Review Rating:

Star Cast: Joaquin Phoenix, Vanessa Kirby, Ben Miles, Ludivine Sagnier

Director: Ridley Scott

Napoleon Movie Review!
Napoleon Movie Review Out!(Photo Credit –Imdb)

What’s Good: It presents a balanced character study of the ruler who was addressed as the ‘nightmare of Europe’ because of how terrified the nations were of his schemes & also ‘The Devil’s Favourite’ because of a propaganda painted around him post the fear of how he’ll destroy British Isles

What’s Bad: The 2-hour-37-minute duration isn’t enough to say a lot about him & Scott gets overtly passionate to pack it all

Loo Break: Despite being a 2-hour-37-minute film, the history nerds would want to watch this without a break

Watch or Not?: Only and only if you’ve enjoyed sitting through history lectures back in school

Language: English

Available On: Theatrical Release

Runtime: Do you want to me repeat it thrice?

User Rating:

With the text assisting on-screen, we’re dropped just before the beginning of the French Revolution, with Marie Antoinette (Catherine Walker), the last queen of France, performing her walk of shame as the Guillotine cut her head off only to shift the frame to a blossoming-to-behead many Napoleon Bonaparte (Joaquin Phoenix). He stands out from the crowd to gain the approval of France’s policymakers using his tactical mind to win the battles.

Knowing no boundary, his lust for power wasn’t limited to the battlefield because he was obsessed with having s*x with Josephine (Vanessa Kirby), a widowed single mother whom he married and was (probably) his last word when he died. With a crumbling start to their relationship, Napoleon continued to conquer countries, winning wars. Still, the thought of losing Josephine to someone else constantly brought him back to her until they separated. In his love letters to Josephine, Napoleon laid feelings out in the n*ked, progressing through his life to be the power-mad tyrant as recognized by many today.

Napoleon Movie Review!
Napoleon Movie Review Out!(Photo Credit –Imdb)

Napoleon Movie Review: Script Analysis

In the most ‘Ridley Scott’ style ever, as the director of this film, he asked the ‘historians’ and ‘fact-checkers’ to point out inaccuracies in the story to “get a life!” Dr Estelle Paranque, a modern history professor at Northeastern University, told BBC, “You don’t go to the cinema to watch history; you go to the cinema to be entertained.” So, if you’re too picky about the accuracies, you won’t really be able to enjoy Scott’s vision of encompassing a man’s range from being a power-mad tyrant to a big baby boy.

After a very generic start of the title plate’s font being similar to Napoleon’s signature, we’re exposed to Dariusz Wolski’s (Pirates Of The Caribbean, The Martian) world of wide-angle shots depicting the gore of battles in an exhilarating manner. In the Battle of Austerlitz, he places the camera underwater beneath the ice to get a view of 2000 Russian soldiers drowning after getting cannon-fired by Napoleon.

Call this film ‘My Love Letters To Josephine’ & no one would mind because David Scarpa’s script focuses so heavily on the toxic relationship Napoleon shared with his wife Joséphine de Beauharnais that the film starts to feel like a love story at times. The jumping between various genres also includes Scarpa’s quippy one-liners bringing comical relief amidst Scott’s hefty weightlifting to present Napoleon’s megalomania. The iconic Jacques-Louis David painting Napoleon & Josephine’s coronation amidst the stunning interior of Notre Dame moment is captured to give org*sm to all the history geeks, claiming because I felt it.

Napoleon Movie Review: Star Performance

“All hail Joaquin Phoenix!” was the phrase I used before watching the film to my colleagues, expressing my excitement about it, and he lived up to it in every way possible. Apart from the physical resemblance, the way he gets into the psyche of Napoleon gives you one of the most genuine portrayals of the flawed war strategist. It’s like “Joaquin Phoenix saw the crown of Hollywood in the gutter; he placed it atop his own head.”

He brings the madness of the character to life in the most accurate way it could be done. He whines and stamps his feet like a horse as he launches himself for s*x; the ‘Joker’ laughs at things he can’t believe, saying, “Yoh think you’re great because of you’ve boats” to Brits just like a frustrated teenager, Joaquin ‘phoenixes’ it all.

My wish for this film to be called ‘My Love Letters To Josephine’ & is also because I wanted Scott to focus more on developing Vanessa Kirby’s Josephine better than just being a failed widowed wife to Napoleon—one more reason to wait for the film’s 4-hour uncut version.

Napoleon Movie Review!
Napoleon Movie Review Out!(Photo Credit –Imdb)

Napoleon Movie Review: Direction, Music

At the age of 85, if Ridley Scott can convert a history lesson into technically rich visuals to paint a picture of France’s Caeser, the Colossus of the Nineteenth Century, in the most erratic way possible, you can do anything. Like many, I believe the yet-to-released 4 hours will be a smoother one as this one bites more than it can chew. It doesn’t give Vanessa Kirby’s Josephine a complete chance to develop with her character playing beautifully in a restricted area.

Martin Phipps takes the Hans Zimmer’y route with the music relying heavily on minimal instruments (Piano, violin majorly) to back the high points. Still, he isn’t shy to go all out orchestrating the excruciating war scenes using a full-size team of musicians. The Peaky Blinders Crown fame justifiably elevates the screenplay by pumping life into it.

Napoleon Movie Review: The Last Word

All said and done; this is Joaquin Phoenix mastering Ridley Scott’s unwavering passion for cinema in a way even the greatest would think twice before getting into. A cinematic masterpiece!

Four Stars! 

Napoleon Trailer

Napoleon releases on 24th November, 2023.

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