Ridley Scott’s “Napoleon” is a sumptuous feast for the eyes according to film critics who just saw the film. The movie, detailing the life of the Emperor Napoleon (played by Joaquin Phoenix) and his relationship as both a ruler and a husband to Empress Josephine (Vanessa Kirby) is “a lot of movie” according to critic and writer William Bibbiani.
The film will premiere in a truncated two hour and 38 minute cut in theaters, while debuting a four-hour cut on Apple TV+.
Many critics cited the biggest flaw was that it felt like the time had been condensed. According to IndieWire’s David Ehrlich, “Napoleon definitely feels like a 4-hour movie that’s been cut to ribbons, but it’s SO funny during the first half when it’s all about Ridley Scott just reading Napoleon for filth and laughing at how embarrassing it is to be a man with ambitions.”
Scott commented in an October interview with Total Film on how he’s excited for fans to see both versions of the movie. ““What will happen is, we’ll screen [the theatrical cut] first with Sony, and then it has its run, and then the perfect thing is that [the director’s cut] goes to streaming, and we have four hours, 10 minutes,” Scott said, referring to the current length of the director’s cut, which is still in the editing bay.”
Interestingly, critics seem divided on the film’s tone, with some saying the film’s humor can veer on the camp side, while others aren’t finding humor at all. RogerEbert’s Brian Tallerico said, “I know comedy is subjective and I liked some of the choices Phoenix makes as Napoleon Baby Man (although needed more of them) but people calling it consistently hysterical saw a different cut than I did. Especially in the long final hour that is laugh free.”
Many are praising Joaquin Phoenx in the title role, such as Variety’s Brent Lang,” who said the actor “makes a lot of choices in #Napoleon, most of them good,” while Paste Magazine’s associate editor, Jesse Hassenger, said when Phoenix plays the character as “a lil weirdo…[it] really works.”
“Napoleon” will release in theaters on November 22. You can read other critical opinions below.
Ridley Scott knows how to make a goddam movie. #Napoleon is a classic epic for modern times.
Joaquin Phoenix plays Nipple Eon with a mix of Veruca Salt and Amon Göth, while Vanessa Kirby gives bad bitch energy.
Nonetheless, NAPOLEON basically is a biopic about the OG incel. pic.twitter.com/5SpOmPLrcA
— Dino-Ray (@DinoRay) November 15, 2023
I’m very curious if the four-hour cut of NAPOLEON fixes the disjointed, rushed, and underwhelming movie hitting theaters next week. An absolute bummer. (Hoping for a KINGDOM OF HEAVEN situation here.)
— Jacob Hall (@JacobSHall) November 15, 2023
NAPOLEON: Great, proper funny and strange and gnarly and just really really good battle scenes. But the best bit is the all-or-nothing and truly world-ending marriage with Josephine. Phoenix is incred in his restraint but Vanessa Kirby, goodness gracious me
— Ella Kemp (@ella_kemp) November 15, 2023
Joaquin Phoenix makes a lot of choices in #Napoleon, most of them good. Slow beginning, but the movie picks up and has a hell of an ending. Enjoyably weird. Likely to be divisive. I've never seen a movie better depict the carnage a cannonball delivers.
— Brent Lang (@BrentALang) November 15, 2023
OK fine one more firstie type thing: I'm not sure how well NAPOLEON balances the epic stuff with Joaquin playing him as a lil weirdo, but the lil weirdo stuff really works; much funnier movie than I was picturing. Also, allowing Vanessa Kirby to kinda ruin you, very relatable.
— Jesse Hassenger (@rockmarooned) November 15, 2023
I know comedy is subjective and I liked some of the choices Phoenix makes as Napoleon Baby Man (although needed more of them) but people calling it consistently hysterical saw a different cut than I did. Especially in the long final hour that is laugh free.
— Brian Tallerico (@Brian_Tallerico) November 15, 2023
NAPOLEON feels truncated, so I can only assume the director’s cut is better. For now, here’s my review. https://t.co/oM23k5QNuM
— Chris Evangelista (@cevangelista413) November 15, 2023
NAPOLEON is pointless. Sure, Joaquin Phoenix portraying the famed general as an idiot is entertaining. But only for a moment. You never get a sense of Josephine or Napoleon as a ruler or anything, really. It's merely a drab costume play without any contemporary significance. pic.twitter.com/ACPy3KIckQ
— Robert Daniels (@812filmreviews) November 15, 2023
reviewed NAPOLEON, which both gorges on & throws the middle finger up to all that jacques-louis david propaganda. i liked it!!!
sorry, ridley, but I talk about historical accuracy, you’re gonna have to kill me if you want to stop mehttps://t.co/2xBuaJdAo5
— Clarisse Loughrey (@clarisselou) November 15, 2023
Ridley Scott prints the legend in #Napoleon/ #NapoleonMovie & it absolutely rips. A compelling love story between a man & his country, military career, wife & ego. Battle sequences are visceral, gory & gorgeously expansive in scale & scope. Phoenix is great, but Kirby transcends. pic.twitter.com/wUad22ylNF
— Courtney Howard (@Lulamaybelle) November 15, 2023
Ridley Scott's #Napoleon is a LOT of movie. Everything and the kitchen sink, to the point that I'm surprised they never show him writing a palindrome.
It's such a sumptuous, surprisingly funny epic that I can *mostly* forgive it for losing TONS of momentum in the second half. pic.twitter.com/1YZKvDBFDA
— William Bibbiani (@WilliamBibbiani) November 15, 2023
Napoleon definitely feels like a 4-hour movie that's been cut to ribbons, but it's SO funny during the first half when it's all about Ridley Scott just reading Napoleon for filth and laughing at how embarrassing it is to be a man with ambitions
my review: https://t.co/gMbFjE6LAa pic.twitter.com/GLDfiYPHPw
— david ehrlich (@davidehrlich) November 15, 2023
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