Napoleon Film Review: Power and Romance of the Eccentric General

War, history and love stories are difficult to separate from the life of Napoleon Bonaparte. Therefore, the film Napoleon by Ridley Scott, which focuses more on the romance aspect, feels like a knight’s horse limping, it looks beautiful but strange. Since the beginning, this film has been eagerly awaited by many people, especially those who are involved in aspects of European history, considering that Napoleon was one of the names who shaped European civilization indirectly through his conquests.

For a long time, historians have criticized how Scott will tell the story of Napoleon in this film. Historians, who initially only had a trailer, see this film starring Joaquin Phoenix as a historical flaw. Now that I see it in its entirety, the historians’ concerns are correct. Although from the start, Scott emphasized that the film Napoleon, which was made based on David Scarpa’s script, would highlight the romantic drama side of the French emperor and Jos√©phine.

However, in supporting the dramatic romance, Scott was certainly obliged to insert crucial historical elements such as war scenes and battles which became the bloodstream of Napoleon’s life. With a long duration of around 158 minutes or more than 2.5 hours, Scott seems confused about how to highlight one aspect of Napoleon’s life compared to the historical and war aspects of this great figure. Without underlying the background of Napoleon’s life from Ajaccio, Corsica Islands in the Mediterranean Sea, Scott immediately begins the narrative of this film with the scene of the beheading of Marie Antoinette.

Napoleon Film Review

Film TitleNapoleon
GenreBiopic, drama
DirectorRidley Scott
ScreenplayDavid Scarpa
CastJoaquin Phoenix, Vanessa Kirby, Tahar Rahim, Ben Miles, Ludivine Sagnier
Duration157 minutes
ProductionApple Studios, Scott Free Productions

Another interesting thing about Napoleon is how this film does not really clarify the character of Napoleon, who was actually a controversial figure in Europe who was considered responsible for the deaths of millions of soldiers to fulfill his desire to fight. On the other hand, this film shows the character of Napoleon as a complicated figure (like the term Napoleon Complex), showing his fear before facing war, as well as his fear of losing the three things he loves most: France, the military, Josephine.

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