The first trailer for “Napoleon” returns filmmaker Ridley Scott to familiar territory, as the “Gladiator” and “Kingdom of Heaven” director puts his historical epic stamp on the rise and fall of iconic French Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte, as played by Oscar-winner Joaquin Phoenix.
Not quite a cradle-to-grave biopic but still expansive in scope, the film captures Bonaparte’s “relentless journey to power through the prism of his addictive, volatile relationship with his one true love, Josephine (played by Vanessa Kirby), showcasing his visionary military and political tactics” while also touting what the official synopsis describes as “some of the most dynamic practical battle sequences ever filmed.”
The screenplay for “Napoleon” was written by Scott’s “All the Money in the World” scribe David Scarpa, with whom he reunited on the currently in-production “Gladiator” sequel.
Noteworthy in this trailer, aside from the epic scale of the practical nature of the film in an era when so many films get their scale from visual effects, is the decision to have the actors use their native accents. Phoenix speaks in his American accent as Napoleon, Kirby in her native British, etc.
The scale and rich aesthetic are captured by Scott’s frequent cinematographer Dariusz Wolski, who also shot “The Last Duel” and “House of Gucci.”
“Napoleon” opens in theaters on Nov. 22 courtesy of Columbia Pictures, followed by an exclusive streaming release on Apple TV+ in a fruitful collaboration that will see this sure-to-be Oscar contender get a robust theatrical release (on Thanksgiving weekend, no less) before its streaming debut.