Ridley Scott’s newest film, Napoleon, is set to release this week, ahead of Thanksgiving in the US. While making the rounds in early screenings, it’s already gathered praise from some and flak from others.
Based on historical icon Napoleon Bonaparte, brought to life this time by Joaquin Phoenix, the film highlights the history of the emperor, being raised up from nothing to an influential leader and commander.
While the film hasn’t even hit mass release yet, both negative and positive reviews are following in the wake. Peter Bradshaw of The Guardian gave the film a five star rating, while daily newspaper Le Figaro proposed the film could be retitled as “Barbie and Ken Under the Empire.”
Scott, known for his classic films like Alien and Blade Runner, wasn’t shy about commenting on the negativity the film has garnered. “The French don’t even like themselves,” he told BBC. “The audience that I showed it to in Paris, they loved it.”
With the film being a historical biopic as well, connections are bound to be drawn from the real life events to the dramatized version on screen. Upon the release of the trailer, TV historian Dan Snow dissected several parts and pointed out inaccuracies with the depiction of the Battle of the Pyramids and the execution of Marie Antoinette.
According to Variety, Scott’s response about the criticism to The New Yorker was simply, “get a life.”
“If you want to really understand Napoleon, then you should probably do your own studying and reading. Because if you see this film, it’s this experience told through Ridley’s eyes.” Phoenix told Empire, in regards to the film’s accuracy.
“I’ve done a lot of historical films,” Scott told Total Film magazine. “I find I’m reading a report of someone else’s report 100 years after the event. So I wonder, ‘How much do they romance and elaborate? How accurate is it?’ It always amuses me when a critic says to me, ‘This didn’t happen in Jerusalem.’ I say, ‘Were you there? That’s the fucking answer.’”
Napoleon hit theaters November 22nd.