Napoleon (2023)

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Napoleon (2023). 2h 38m | R

“Back in 2005 Ridley Scottu0026#39;s 144 minute version of u0026#39;Kingdom of Heavenu0026#39; premiered in theatres to somewhat mixed reviews. A couple of years later the vastly superior 190 minute directoru0026#39;s cut version finally arrived, with the general consensus that the final product was a masterclass in storytelling, directing, acting and cinematography. – without doubt the best motion picture ever made about the crusades.u003cbr/u003eu003cbr/u003eAlmost 20 years later we are yet again treated with a compiled highlight reel of a Ridley Scott movie in the theatre, rather than a full-fledged historical epic, since it has already become official that u0026#39;Napoleonu0026#39; will be released later on streaming with its entire runtime of almost four hours, which clearly is needed to flesh out many parts of the movie and fill in the emotional and historical blanks, because this – somewhat butchered cut – moves in a breakneck speed and feels too rushed.u003cbr/u003eu003cbr/u003eWhereas the underappreciated 1970 movie u0026#39;Waterloou0026#39; starring Rod Steiger as Napoleon Bonaparte, featuring thousands of extras, portrayed events only during the 100 days campaign in 1815, Scottu0026#39;s u0026#39;Napoleonu0026#39; takes us through decades of various major events and battles beginning with the siege of Toulon in 1793. In this version we never really learn why Napoleon was so powerful. Why did he win the admiration of so many? Itu0026#39;s almost as if he stumbles through greatness. He was a great politician in real life, but here he is portrayed as a childish brute? It felt like the focus was more on setpieces and his troubled relationship with Josephine, than on him as a ruthless and cunning emperor, and in the theatre cut there really isnu0026#39;t a lot of places where Joaquin Phoenix truly shines as an Oscar contender. Maybe the directoru0026#39;s cut will remedy that.u003cbr/u003eu003cbr/u003eIn spite of its shortcomings (no pun intended) u0026#39;Napoleonu0026#39; is still one of the best movies I have seen this year, but I am baffled. Because if people can sit through 3+ hour box office hits like u0026#39;Avengers Endgameu0026#39;, u0026#39;Avatar 2u0026#39; and u0026#39;Oppenheimeru0026#39; – why the need to release just a very extended trailer of u0026#39;Napoleonu0026#39; in the theatre, especially when everyone know that they can just wait a couple of months for it to arrive on streaming in its entirety? An attempt by Apple at a cash grab? u0026quot;You need a subscription to our streaming service to watch the whole thingu0026quot;?u003cbr/u003eu003cbr/u003eWith that being said, I do predict some Oscar nominations here. Ridley Scott yet again proves why he is one of the best filmmakers out there. But a word of caution: If you only plan to see this once, you might consider waiting for the directoru0026#39;s cut.”


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