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Movie Review – Napoleon

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Boring. I never fall asleep during movies, but I almost nodded off twice during this one. It was a slog to get through. Gladiator is one of my all-time favorite movies and I really hoped this movie would tap into some of that, but wow. Not even close.


Joaquin Phoenix is a generational talent, and at first glance seems like an ideal choice to play Napoleon, but as it turns out it feels like Joaquin fell back on other characters he has played because all I could see is Joaquin playing Napoleon instead of Napoleon. I know this is a particularly hard role to perform because obviously, there’s no film footage of Napoleon to go on. But I’ll bet Gary Oldman could have melted into the role.

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I was really thrown by Vanessa Kirby’s accent as she played Josephine. She made no attempt to hide her British accent, so I was really confused. My French history is pretty spotty, but I was almost certain Josephine wasn’t British—if you’re wondering she’s Italian. Maybe make a little effort to have a French accent? The same can be said for Joaquin. He makes no attempt at a French accent. I’m sure the actors and director thought about how to play this and decided it would be too distracting to try and do French accents, but it was distracting to me. I would have preferred that they use AI to convert everyone’s lines to French and match their mouth to the sounds—we can do that now. And then provide English subtitles. But whatever.


The characters never seemed to age, but the story spans 25-30 years in time. The story would jump from event to event and sometimes skip forward a handful of years at a time.

If there’s one thing that I feel is completely lacking in the movie it’s that they don’t satisfactorily illustrate the passion that Napoleon’s soldiers had for him. Of course there’s the scene where his 5th Army defects to him, but that’s just telling us something. I don’t see it. That’s mainly because all of his soldiers are nameless faces that never speak. Some of the soldiers should have had scenes where they talk about Napoleon and we can learn what they think about him and how much their willing to sacrifice for him. Instead, everything is from Napoleon’s perspective.

Battle Scenes

I found the battle scenes to be too long and visually confusing to be interesting. There wasn’t a single battle scene, or even a moment, that was gripping. I just wanted them to be over. Again, this is from the director who gave us Gladiator and that had epic battle scenes. I have no idea why Ridley Scott made this movie, but it feels like everyone lost interest in it as they were filming.


The music was entirely forgettable. I guess Hans Zimmer is on vacation or something and they couldn’t get him to do the soundtrack. Wait a moment. Hans is German. Yeah, he’s not doing the soundtrack for Napolean. Not if he wants to show his face in Germany ever again. 🙂

Grade: D

The Critical Drinker (YouTube Channel) has pretty much the same thing to say as I do, only much better.

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About The Peetimes: This is a long movie with many slow-developing scenes. It wasn’t hard to find five Peetimes. The only Peetime I would avoid is the 3rd. I only added it because otherwise, there would be an hour gap between the 2nd and 4th Peetimes. The last two Peetimes are the best. They are both long scenes of marching and battle preparation.

There are no extra scenes during, or after, the end credits of Napoleon.

Rated: (R) Sexual Content | Brief Language | Some Grisly Images | Strong Violence
Genres: Action, Adventure, Biography
Starring: Vanessa Kirby, Joaquin Phoenix, Ludivine Sagnier
Director: Ridley Scott
Writer(s): David Scarpa
Language: English
Country: United Kingdom, United States

An epic that details the checkered rise and fall of French Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte and his relentless journey to power through the prism of his addictive, volatile relationship with his wife, Josephine.

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4 responses to “Movie Review – Napoleon”

  1. Ken Clark Avatar

    I completely disagree with almost everything said in this review.

    1. That’s cool. At least we agreed on something, just not sure what. 🙂

  2.  Avatar

    critical drinker is an absolute ####. trash review.

    1. I agree with the majority of his reviews, but sometimes I’m 100% opposite. That’s fine. Disagreement isn’t the end of the world. And we’re in complete agreement on this movie.

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