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15th Nov 2023

Joaquin Phoenix’s performance in new Napoleon film is getting rave reviews

Charlie Herbert

Joaquin Phoenix Napoleon

Phoenix’s performance as Napoleon has been described as ‘brilliant’ and ‘startling’

Joaquin Phoenix has been lauded for his performance as Napoleon Bonaparte in the new historical epic about the French ruler.

Called ‘Napoleon’, the biopic was directed by Ridley Scott and is released on Apple TV+ and in cinemas on November 22.

The critics have already had their first watch of the 160-minute film though, and have heaped praise on both the epic scale of the production and Phoenix’s performance as the infamous French military commander.

In a five-star review for the Guardian, Peter Bradshaw said Phoenix made a “magnificent emperor” in the “thrilling biopic.”

He also praised Scott for creating an “outrageously enjoyable cavalry charge of a movie, a full-tilt biopic of two and a half hours in which Scott doesn’t allow his troops to get bogged down mid-gallop in the muddy terrain of either fact or metaphysical significance, the tactical issues that have defeated other film-makers.”

In their four-star review, the Independent’s Clarisse Loughrey wrote: “You’d have to profoundly misread Scott’s Napoleon to walk away with the idea that he was anything but a tyrant, thanks largely to Phoenix’s reliable brilliance.

“His Napoleon is one of the finest in a long line of petulant baby men that can be traced back to his star-making turn as Emperor Commodus in Scott’s own Gladiator.”

The Telegraph also gave Scott’s film four stars, saying that Phoenix makes a “startling emperor” whilst also highlighting Vanessa Kirby’s “brilliant” performance as his wife.

And there were more four-star ratings from Empire and the BBC, who labelled the film an “awe-inspiring achievement.”

Napoleon is released in the UK in cinemas and on Apple TV+ on November 22.

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