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Napoleon Review and release date on OTT

November 20, 2023 By admin

Directors have attempted to pursue Napoleon wherever the roads of glory may lead, and perhaps the only truly wonderful thing in the world is resolute failure. However, the Wellington of film, Ridley Scott, has made a ridiculously entertaining cavalry charge of a two and a half hour full tilt biopic in which Scott refuses to let his troops get stuck in the muddy terrain of fact or metaphysical significance, the tactical issues that have defeated other filmmakers.

With a cheeky imagination, Scott sees Napoleon shooting on the pyramids during the Egyptian war and watching Marie Antoinette executed (though he may have witnessed Louis XVI being humiliated by the Tuileries crowd). Furthermore, Scott and his scriptwriter David Scarpa avoid discussing Napoleon’s restoration of slavery into the French colonies out of respect. Above all, though, is Joaquin Phoenix’s delectably suggestive portrayal of the doomed emperor, whose mocking smile complements the framing of a bicorne hat and a jaunty tricolor cockade. Phoenix plays Napoleon as a military genius and lounge lizard peacock who is incidentally no slouch on horseback. Others might show Napoleon as a dreamy loner, but for Scott he is one half of a rackety power couple: passionately, despairingly in love with Vanessa Kirby’s pragmatically sensual Josephine. Scott makes this warring pair the Burton and Taylor of imperial France.

In Sergei Bondarchuk’s 1970 Waterloo, Rod Steiger portrayed Napoleon as a weary gangboss trading jabs with his consigliere; Herbert Lom, in King Vidor’s 1956 War and Peace, saw him as a dwindling absurdity, unable to believe no one is there to submit to him in the Russian capital; and Albert Dieudonné, in Abel Gance’s silent masterpiece of 1927, saw him as a gaunt and austere like Joan of Arc or Rasputin. However, to Phoenix, he is the quintessential satirist and smiling genius, the outsider, the astute watcher and taker of other people’s flaws, the archetypal capitalist businessman, seizing control, enhancing self-assurance, and supporting printed money. Phoenix’s Napoleon is already known as the Napoleon of Crime, though other individuals may adopt that moniker later.

Scott creates an exciting action sequence that serves as the prelude to Napoleon’s greatest accomplishment as a young artilleryman, the daring attack on the British at Toulon in 1793, which solidified his image as a master of strategy and an enemy of the English. Imagining a defeated Napoleon interviewing Wellington on board HMS Bellerophon and smugly complimenting him on the caliber of breakfast provided to the Royal Navy, Scott bookends the entire affair.

Napoleon, of course, has the closest thing to an inferiority complex because of Britain’s naval supremacy; Phoenix laughs heartily when he bellows at the British envoy, “You think you’re so great because you have boats!” Napoleon briefly assumes the persona of Phoenix, the eerie adolescent Commodus from Scott’s Gladiator. Napoleon’s auto-coronation sequence also has a lot of Commodus in it, as the new emperor discovers that the crown does not exactly fit atop his laurels in the Roman manner. And the young Napoleon becomes the epitome of pure power, brutally quelling the mob with his “whiff of grapeshot,” as Scott graphically depicts, and triangulating the violent impulses of revolution and royalism with the aid of his patron and friend Barras (Tahar Rahim).

Napoleon has always been alluring as an emblem and symbol; ever since Tolstoy, the retreat that Napoleon made after abandoning Moscow has been seen as a metaphor for Mother Russia’s miraculous deliverance, comparable to the resurrection itself. Hitler was enthralled with him; nonetheless, the Napoleonic religion endures today among those who seek to erase the tragedies of the 20th century and restore what they see to be the romanticized experience of fighting. It is possible that Kubrick planned Napoleon to have a great deal of significance in his infamously abandoned film project. However, this is not Ridley Scott’s intention; he does not withhold the traditional joys of sight and thrill from the audience, nor does he retain their attention with a philosophical meaning. The secret to it all is Phoenix, who gives a performance as powerful as the burgundy glass he knocks back: sultry, sultry, simmering, and victorious.