He came from nothing. He conquered everything.
Release Date: 2023-11-22
Original Language: English
User Score: 6.498/10 (1763 votes)
Genres: Drama, History, War
Where to watch: US / United States:Apple TV Plus
Overview: An epic that details the checkered rise and fall of French Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte and his relentless journey to power through the prism of his addictive, volatile relationship with his wife, Josephine.
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Written on 2023-11-23
FULL SPOILER-FREE REVIEW @ https://fandomwire.com/napoleon-review-a-dispassionate-hollow-spectacle/ "Napoleon contributes to a troubling trend in cinema, transforming significant historical narratives into hollow spectacles driven by mere visual entertainment. Despite compelling performances and visually stunning battle set pieces, Ridley Scott fails to control the shockingly inconsistent tone, leading to abrupt shifts between heavy drama and spontaneous comedy. The dispassionate treatment of the millions who suffered through Napoleon's acts testifies to the dissonant messages of the movie, which ends with an unclear feeling about the status of its protagonist. Too much creative liberty leads to absurd historical inaccuracies, including a questionable lack of French accents and actors. Despite efficient pacing, the 157-minute runtime surprisingly feels rushed, but I don't believe the rumored four-hour cut will fix so many massive problems..." Rating: C-
Written on 2023-11-24
I think this is one of those films, like his "Kingdom of Heaven" (2005) epic that Sir Ridley Scott has made for aficionados of grand scale historical cinema, not for historians. Indeed it may well be that for this film, the less you actually know about the subject the more you might enjoy it. We start with the demise of Marie Antoinette and see Napoleon Bonaparte (Joaquin Phoenix) watching from the baying crowd. He's a relatively junior officer but an aspirational one who manages to sell a plan to relieve the British occupied city of Toulon to his boss Barras (Tahar Rahim). This success sets him on a parabola that sees him rise, his falling in/out/in of love with the charismatic Josephine (Vanessa Kirby) and his overwhelming desire for European domination. The narrative clearly illustrates the fickleness of dynastic politics, trust and betrayal, love, lust and shrieking hypocrisy in a colourful and vibrant fashion. I didn't love Phoenix in this role, but maybe because Rod Steiger was so convincing in "Waterloo" (1970) that at times he looked a little like a mimic. That said, though, he puts his heart and soul into the role and the increasingly toxic dynamic with Kirby manages to stay on the right side of melodrama throughout. Again, as with Sir Ridley's tale of Jerusalem from eighteen years ago, he manages to pull off some spectacular battle scenes and the cinematography captures well the hostile environments - human and natural - faced by the soldiers as his empire building rose and fell. Although it's over 2½ hours long, I felt the focus was rather imbalanced. A long time spent on his rise to power then his decline and fall rather rushed. Dare I say it, but this might have worked better as a part one and a part two scenario. It looks stunning and the creative forces behind the costumes and visual effects are bound to be picking up a slew of gongs in due course. The acting, well that's less impressive and though I do enjoy the genre, I fear this may just end up being famed for some historical inaccuracies rather than being for an outstanding biopic of one of the world's most enigmatic and flawed megalomaniacs.
Written on 2023-12-25
"Napoleon" ambitiously sets out to condense the colossal life of the French emperor into a single film but ends up biting off more than it can chew. The movie, while visually stunning and energetically directed, suffers from an overly ambitious script and a plethora of historical inaccuracies that distract rather than enhance. Joaquin Phoenix's portrayal of Napoleon is inconsistent, struggling to meld the complex dichotomy of the character's reputed brilliance and egotism with a more vulnerable, human side. The film's pacing is erratic, attempting to navigate through two decades of dense European history and personal drama within a limited runtime. Key events feel rushed or underexplored, leaving viewers longing for the depth and development that a miniseries format could provide. Vanessa Kirby's Josephine provides a glimmer of intrigue and depth, yet even her story feels truncated and secondary to the hurried historical epic. Overall, "Napoleon" exemplifies a missed opportunity to deeply explore one of history's most enigmatic figures, hinting that a more expansive, serialized approach might have better served such a monumental story
Written on 2024-01-05
Impressive battle sequences aside, <em>'Napoleon'</em> fails to deliver. Just my own opinion, of course, but this Ridley Scott movie just didn't click. I didn't feel attached to what I was watching, I wasn't hooked on the events that were occurring onscreen. Joaquin Phoenix gives a solid enough performance, I don't have any complaints with him - nor Vanessa Kirby. It's just the film in general that disappointed. None of the non-battle scenes did anything for me, it's all so heavily forgettable. The added humour/quirkiness from the titular character felt out of place, or at least wasn't blended with the more serious stuff all that well. The long run time, whilst certainly overdone, isn't actually all that much of a hindrance - it's moreso how poorly the run time is utilized. I, fwiw, have zero issue with historical inaccuracies. Judging it solely as a film, I highly doubt I'll want to rewatch this anytime soon unfortunately.
Written on 2024-01-08
I'm afraid Napoleon is a little boring. Josephine is the best part of the whole project. Amazing cannon stuff, though. Just blew their load a bit early... 10/10 if it was over after they shot the citizenry...but the horse. Damn. That was a rush worth filming. All told, the film left me wishing Napoleon had died before another hour and a half could get tacked on. Was somewhat like watching a tiny old man die in exile on an island.
Written on 2024-01-09
Didn't really get much of a read on this movies take on Napoleon the person. He walks around, is terrible at fucking, and does not appear to be as short as history had made him out to be. As for historical accuracy, I doubt he really wore the hat so often, and I did not see him jam his hands into his armpits a single time. French Braveheart goes through all the beats these giant war epics go through [yawns uncontrollably], it does it well enough [farts loudly], and has some fun blowing apart flesh with cannons [gets slightly hard].
Written on 2024-01-12
I had high hopes for Napoleon but the final product was, for me, disappointing. Lets start by saying this feels more like a cinematic biography than sweeping saga. The approach taken is to move from set piece to set piece through the passage of this famous figures life. Regrettably, the handling, like Napoleons tryst with Josephine, is quick and crude. Set piece gives way to yet more set pieces,with no real contextual cohesion. There are a number of historical inaccuracies too. The most glaring being the absence of a younger actor in the earlier part of Napoleons career. This could have worked better with Joaquin Phoenix playing Napoleon in his latter years, married up to a actor of similar appearance, playing the younger Napoleon. Napoleon did change markedly over the years, why not take this approach? I will say too, I think the American accent that's pretty hard to ignore, does not sit well, with a production set in this era.Brit accents are more believable because they were a well established presence on the world stage, at the time. I wasn't always sure if I was watching a film about Napoleon or Washington. A role I think Phoenix would be fabulous in, BTW. This is not to say this film is "all negatives". A ton of money has been spent on this lavish production and it shows. Sets are amazing, as are costumes and locations. The gruesomeness of warfare be it domestic, Royalists dispatched by cannon in the streets of Paris or enemies on the battlefield, is laid bare. This really brings home the fact that warfare and imperialism, which we still see today, is ultimately an ugly, sinister, destructive thing. In summary, issues with the handling of this historical production are its biggest shortcoming. From the choice of approach, with almost obsessive set pieces, the use of an older actor in a younger role and other aspects of how the character is presented. On the upside, lavish and at times, brutally frank, especially the bloody spectacle of conflict. There are no hero's in war, including Napoleon himself. NOTE: For anyone interested Napoleon was not short. He was around 5.7" tall which was the male French average height for the century he was born in (height of people varied century to century based on factors like food availability). The reason people think he was short, was propaganda from his enemies. I guess propaganda does work, after all!
Written on 2024-01-15
Based on a screenplay by David Scarpa (that is writing the screenplay for Gladiator 2 too... oh oh) rather than a history book this is as epic as Ridley Scott makes his movies technically.... and that's it. After Ridley's Scott last movie (the magnificent and accurate "The Duel" of 2021) went under the radar on its year my expectation bar was set too high for this one. I can't dismiss all technical work because I just love all Ridley Scott movies because of his singular style, and the movie is truly breathtaking in the major battles parts. But as a whole it simplifies the real personality of the character (that Joaquin Phoenix plays) as a commander and personality of the time (maybe the most famous of that era) and minimizes the intrincancy of his relations with Empress Joséphine (played by Vanessa Kirby). Joaquin plays Napoleon role very well, even with the limitations of being just a caricature here. The gaps and errors in historically accuracy and battle scenes tactics are just fathomless deep, and history is compressed as it where from a history book name and resume of chapter to another, loosing the chance to achieve something grandiose here. I can just dream on a well made screenplay and accurate movie here with the same quality of Ridley's work - nevertheless that it would take more than just one movie to get that chapter of Europe's history. Maybe it will get one or two nominations at Academy for production, costume or cinematography here but that's it. If it was a historical movie of a lesser known character or just focused on one part of his life it the score could be higher but here I just can get a 6.0 out of 10.0 / B - (but with a A for the technical side). It seems thar a version with 92 plus minutes will be released on Apple, but without a final director's cut version date.
Written on 2024-01-19
Hearing over and over on the internet about how Napoleon led his army to die in the cold Russian winter, I always assumed he just died there along with them. Turns out, he didn't, and what an unfortunate turn of events that was because it resulted in another hour of movie to watch! I liked the cannon stuff. I would have liked to see more cannons. Getting pretty tired of the whole mumbling Joaquin Phoenix act. If you put this ham on your face, be sure to turn on subtitles!