Napoleon by Ridley Scott

Joaquin Phoenix is a great actor and Ridley Scott is a great director and together they have masterfully portrayed the role of Napoleon. The combination of fiction and drama that should be in an acceptable balance to make films based on historical events and characters watchable, this film seems far from it.

The opening 15 minutes of Waterloo, a very underrated 1970 film, dominates the entire Ridley Scott film starring Rod Steiger as Napoleon. This film is available on YouTube and is directed by Sergey Bondarchuk, one of the best Soviet/Russian directors in the world of cinema. This is the same great director and filmmaker who filmed Tolstoy’s epic novel War and Peace. This film adaptation of War and Peace is an epic like the novel that took 6 years to complete and is over 7 hours long.

Back to Ridley Scott’s Napoleon, in which the 23-year-old to 51-year-old Napoleon is seen as a fifty-year-old actor without any transformation, whose behavior does not match what describes Napoleon’s personality. Looking at the facts that have been repeatedly debunked along with the rest of the historical facts, the word F is kept coming out of the mouth again and again, in which the biggest debunker is the frozen lake in the Battle of Austerlitz. Other scandals include the exaggeration of Josephine’s character and her never aging even though she was older than Napoleon. Napoleon himself fought in battle while always standing back in command, meeting the Duke of Wellington after the Battle of Waterloo which never happened and leaving the army in the field after Napoleon’s defeat at Waterloo. Jana is shown in the film as a hit.

The art direction, costumes and sound of the film are good as ever. Even if you ignore the historical accuracy, this movie bores you very much because of its very bad editing which can be called a butcher cut which has ruined the tempo of the entire movie. The lack of continuity in the story is strongly felt, there is a jump and you go right, another jump and you go left. Just like playing ping pong with boredom. Read somewhere that Ridley Scott has said that his director’s cut will be 4 hours long which will be released on online streaming platforms which will quench the thirst of many missing things. After watching the cinema version I am in no mood to watch the director’s cut.

My rating 6.3/10


(Translation of Amir Mughal’s analysis on Facebook)

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