Ridley Scott’s Napoleon charts the fast rise of a temperamental military genius from Gallic artillery commander to French emperor who had a complex named after him and his downfall of a battle in 1812 at Waterloo. A short, petulant, eccentric outsiders a Corsican ‘thug’ with an appetite for power and the ability to unleash hell on his foes.
There’s bulky narrative in David Scarpa’s script that lets Scott display his technical might, notably with the scintillating lensing of Dariusz Wolski. From 1793’s Battle of Toulon to the likes of the thrillingly pulverizing and brutal Austerlitz with Austrian and Russian troops filling a gelid, sanguine lake. Well after Marie Antoinette’s beheading and the demise of Robespierre that has a nagging elusive quality to its central figure.
In director and star again plunging into the past before a final exile to St. Helena that allows the later to exhibit an of-the-wall creepiness that elects unintentional laughter. Including some lesser known quotes from the fellow with the spiffy bicorne hat. When it comes to, say boats or lamb chops.
Bloody interludes and coups aren’t everything about the very ambitious extravaganza. The politics of such an upstart mobile leader include an angle unto Bonaparte’s image as a pariah abound the global community.
More so is the passion when not attacking neighbors with his loving mischievous wife Josephine, a spitfire Vanessa Kirby of Pieces of a Woman. Her extracurricular actives infuriates a man hated by a surprise that winks at Sharon Stone’s empowered novelist Catherine Trammell.
Huge, scenic set-pieces ultimately make this a must-see in giant theatrical venues with plenty of cannon fire and burning naval vessels. In contrast to the blandness of such a notoriously, distinguish carer with a Julius Caesar brilliance and childishness to go alongside.
Perhaps it’s all an extended, if somewhat repetitive preview of a Scott’s planned ‘director’s cut that overall leaves this stately enterprise more anemic and chIlly. Even like the plodding Gucci with stars like Lady Gaga and Adam Driver where the ardor really didn’t really kick in like it should have. Yet, Napoleon thrives and succumbs to its impulses from ace tactics to foolish pride and fly in reeling in a multi-continental empire after the French Revolution.