By: Rory Zeman
Although movies serve as a vivid way to capture history’s greatest and grimmest moments, they have previously failed to deliver a film that properly analyzes and portrays to viewers one of the most impactful and awe-inspiring eras of history —Napoleon’s rise to power —until now.
Napoleon is set to debut in theaters on Nov. 22. The film will give viewers a historically accurate insight into Napoleon Bonaparte’s time as First Consul of France and Emperor of his vast European empire. The film also takes a deep dive into Napoleon’s mindset, specifically his turbulent relationship with his wife Josephine.
The film has a star-studded cast and crew, with Joaquin Phoenix playing the iconic Napoleon. Phoenix, well-known for his roles in Joker and Gladiator, is accompanied by co-star Vanessa Kirby, best known for her role in Mission Impossible. Kirby will portray Josephine, who plays an important role in Napoleon’s glorious, yet rash actions. Furthermore, Phoenix will reunite with famed director Ridley Scott on the film, who also directed Gladiator.
The motion picture features revolutionary battle scene cinematography that attempts to shine a light on the actual battleground experience with Napoleon, who is well-known for his hands-on role in many of his greatest battles. Furthermore, it will delve into the strategic mindset of Napoleon as he advances across the entire European continent. Through numerous close-ups of Napoleon and emphasis on his quick-witted orders, the film hopes to highlight the military genius of Napoleon and his role in the assembly of one of the greatest military powers in history.
Due to Scott’s background in action films, this project features a multitude of violent battles that offer viewers an insight into the reality of 19th-century conflict. Through Napoleon’s various battles on his road to domination, he faces countless personal obstacles. Although most historical films tend to be more action-based, Scott creates a movie emphasizing the psychology behind Napoleon’s schemes. Scott explained, “It’s so easy to start talking about battles when I want to talk about Napoleon…so I kept reining it in, I kept going back to Josephine.”
The crew filmed at a variety of historically accurate locations, shooting in southern Britain, as well as in the interior Moroccan deserts and the famous French Lincoln Cathedral. Additionally, filming took place on the island of Malta for scenes of sea battles, such as the siege of Toulon, where Napoleon won his first battle.
Apple Studios played the biggest role in the making of Napoleon, collaborating with Sony Pictures and Columbia Pictures to bring the movie onto the global stage. Napoleon is set to release in theaters on Nov. 22 with a run time of two and a half hours. The movie will also premiere on Apple TV+ at a later date with an additional two hours of director’s cut footage, bringing more of Scott’s vision to life.
(Sources: Empire, Rotten Tomatoes, Wikipedia)