Saddle up, people – Ridley Scott is back in historical epic mode! And we mean, real, proper historical epic. The (perhaps already underrated) The Last Duel might have taken the legendary director of Gladiator and Kingdom Of Heaven (Director’s Cut, obviously) back into the annals of history, but it was in many ways an intimate and multifaceted portrait of a personal story. And while there looks to be a major character study element to Scott’s new Napoleon, make no mistake – this looks to be an all-out war movie, with blood and battalions and ballistics flying through the air. At the centre of it all is Joaquin Phoenix as the man in the hat, reuniting with his Gladiator director once more. Check it out here:
The massive battle shots! The naval warfare! The pyramids! The weird version of Radiohead’s ‘The National Anthem’! This one really does look mega-massive, even by Sir Ridley’s standards – a story on a huge scale, with huge action to match. And opposite Phoenix is the ever-excellent Vanessa Kirby as Josephine, Napoleon’s other half – with their relationship expected to be a major facet of the story here. The film is penned by writer David Scarpa, who also scripted All The Money In The World for Scott – and is behind the screenplay for Ridley’s next little indie movie, by the (current) title of Gladiator 2. Even at the age of 85, the man behind Alien, Blade Runner, Black Hawk Down and more shows absolutely no sign of slowing down.
Here’s the official synopsis: “Napoleon is a spectacle-filled action epic that details the checkered rise and fall of the iconic French Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte,” it reads. “Against a stunning backdrop of large-scale filmmaking orchestrated by legendary director Ridley Scott, the film captures Bonaparte's relentless journey to power through the prism of his addictive, volatile relationship with his one true love, Josephine, showcasing his visionary military and political tactics against some of the most dynamic practical battle sequences ever filmed.” Big talk, with a big trailer to back it up.
Napoleon is coming our way before the end of the year – heading to UK cinemas on 22 November, before it makes its way to Apple TV+ at a later date. That’s a particularly Oscar-friendly release window. Will it be a race between Scorsese and Scott for the little gold statues? It’s certainly looking that way…