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Napoleon is a movie directed by Ridley Scott and is about the life of French leader as it captures his passion, tragedy and power. Despite some thematic gaps, Joaquin Phoenix’s magnetic depiction and Scott’s direction shine through.

Ridley Scott’s latest undertaking involved Napoleon where he tells an amazing story of a great French leader that brings to fore the world of power, love, lust, greed and its inevitable downfall.

Plot Overview

The story starts when Napoleon Bonaparte acted passionately by Joaquin Phoenix was still a military commander. The plot gets interesting when he meets Marie Josephe Rose Tascher who comes from an aristocratic background. Their relationship that has elements of passion and sensuality takes him from being just an army officer to becoming the Emperor of France. However, the narrative shifts gear dramatically as Empress Josephine develops sterility issues, leading to an agonizingly sad end to their once passionate union.

Narrative in Napoleon Review

Ridley Scott excellently tells us about Napoleons life with realistic skillfulness. I thought this film had some amazing camera work which at times made things look more lifelike than real-life does itself. This movie adroitly navigates historical events because it presents Napoleon as “the tyrant” history remembers so well hence creating an intricate portrayal surrounding power.

Pace and Sequences

The speed with which the story moves forward in this film is indeed brisk making it befitting for such a tumultuous life like that one of Napoleon Bonaparte. Yet sometimes this pace leaves viewers wanting for more depth in some parts of the film treatment. At times however fast paced nature may seem superficial not achieving subtlety aimed at by those who made the film thereby leaving a sense of incompleteness thematically.


Joaquin Phoenix’s performance as Napoleon in this movie is just outstanding. This incredible portrayal by Joaquin Phoenix reveals the charisma and tyranny that was Napoleon’s personality. Vanessa Kirby creates a character for Empress Josephine who has more depth since she gracefully treads through the complexities of love, power and eventual heartbreaks. Nevertheless, other characters are under-played in the film thus losing their significance.

Production Quality in Napoleon

The mastery of Ridley Scott as a director is seen again in this one. The movie has an impeccable production quality that gives much detail to historical facts and grandness. With all sets, costumes and cinematography included in consideration it provides an experience which goes beyond the screen.

Flaws & Imperfections

While Ridley Scott’s direction is excellent, there are some flaws in the film. There are instances where despite breathtaking visuals and stellar performances; the narrative fails to achieve its intended purpose. The rapidity with which several events happen may leave viewers desiring better insight into Napoleon’s mind and also his intricate relationships.

The Verdict on Napoleon

Napoleon is an amazing film about the life of a historical dictator. The movie does have its flaws but it achieves its primary aim of capturing the massive scope and tragedy that form part and parcel of Napoleon’s life. Joaquin Phoenix and Vanessa Kirby both give excellent performances in their roles, lifting the film with their subtlety. In this case, Ridley Scott’s direction combined with an impeccable production quality makes Napoleon a visually arresting experience.

Besides not being considered as perfect cinema in any way, it tells an ambitious story line and portrays one of history’s most puzzling characters. The grand filmscape offers commendable narratives concerning power, passion and the inherent human frailties from which they stem. It marks a brave three-star attempt that though imperfect opens up some perspectives into historical cinema.

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