A Man of Destiny, A Film Divided: Ridley Scott’s Napoleon (2023)

Introducing the Napoleon film (2023) by Ridley Scott as our first movie review of the blog! Last weekend, I went to watch the film with some of my friends and needless to say, we have a thing or two to say about the film revolving around the great mind of France’s military power back in the 1700s. Without further ado, let’s have a look at Napoleon (2023) by Ridley Scott.

Napoleon movie

The Story

As it is a biopic, the plot is straightforward. Ridley Scott, the veteran director of historical epics like “Gladiator” and “Kingdom of Heaven,” tackles the rise and fall of Napoleon Bonaparte in his latest film, “Napoleon.” Joaquin Phoenix portrays the Corsican leader, chronicling his meteoric ascent from military genius to Emperor of France, haunted by his turbulent relationship with Josephine (Vanessa Kirby).

Ambition and the Battlefield: A Visually Stunning Epic

“Napoleon” unfolds like a magnificent tapestry, showcasing Scott’s mastery of grand spectacle. The battle sequences are visceral and immersive, recreating the chaos and brutality of Napoleonic warfare with precision and scale. The IMAX experience also helps to transport viewers to opulent imperial courts and windswept battlefields.

My favourite battle in the movie is undoubtedly the Battle of Austerlitz. It was a prime example of Napoleon’s intelligence and ruthlessness on the battlefield. You can see the command he holds on France’s military and the harsh winter adds up to the cold narrative as the battle goes on. A great performance by Phoenix as he captures Napoleon’s ambition, ruthlessness, and vulnerability with a subtle intensity.

Napoleon film

Love and the Abyss: A Relationship That Consumes

Red flag alert! Napoleon’s passionate yet fraught relationship with Josephine takes centre stage in the film. Theirs is a love story consumed by jealousy, political intrigue, and ultimately, betrayal. Kirby shines as Josephine, portraying her evolution from a beautiful socialite to a woman burdened by the demands of imperial life. However, the film struggles to fully flesh out their complex dynamic, leaving their emotional rollercoaster feeling rushed and underdeveloped.

The Man and the Myth: A Flawed Exploration of Grandeur

Many have criticised that the film is ultimately rushed and failed to explore deeper psychological themes as “Napoleon” attempted to delve into the man behind the legend, exploring his inner demons and insecurities alongside his military genius. While Phoenix’s performance hints at Napoleon’s inner turmoil, the script fails to fully excavate the motivations and contradictions that made him such a fascinating historical figure.

Final Verdict

It is a film that is visually stunning yet uneven epic. My verdict is 3.5 out of 5 for Ridley Scott’s recent film. “Napoleon” is a visually breathtaking film, with Scott’s direction and Phoenix’s captivating performance breathing life into the Napoleonic era. However, the film stumbles with its underdeveloped narrative and lack of psychological depth. While it delivers the thrilling spectacle and emotional drama, it fails to fully grasp the complexities of its subject, leaving viewers with a sense of grandeur, but not a complete understanding of the man and myth.

The comments are always open if you have thoughts to share on Napoleon as well. It’s still out on cinemas worldwide and make sure to check it out on IMAX. I hope you enjoy reading today’s movie review!