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"Napoléon" 1812-1821 (2002)

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1 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

A bit low for Napoleon (tv)

4/10
Author: leplatypus from PariS
28 May 2012

As a lot of French, Napoleon is a fascinating historical legend. Maybe we are subjugated in our national pride that a tiny soldier could have put Europe at his feet but we totally forget that it was foremost a conqueror that invaded and battled all other countries. He was the predecessor of Hitler, Stalin, Hussein with his tireless wars but we don't mind as the name of France was very bright then.

As I have just finished a biography about his last days in St Helena ("terrible exile"), that explains why i only watch the last episode and how I can express a lot of expectations: After this reading, here the following unavoidable highlights that this show must propose:

1) his courageous surrender to England as he trust wrongly his longtime enemy, the perfidy Albion -> just evoked as the boat trip isn't filmed

2) His farewell to France as he is on board of the ship because he knew that he will never come back there -> cut

3) His true charisma and leadership because the English settlers and troops tend to appreciate him -> we have a glimpse with the Betsy character

4) His Longwood home that is a shame with damp, wind and rats on a highly rocky island: we see a rat but we don't have the feeling that the house is derelict

5) His relation with the Governor Lowe as he dismissed his authority after just a few meetings -> this is the first scene of the first episode

6) His private life on his island as he has come with only four male friends and has big urges -> not evoked

7) Two of them being a bit deceitful: Las Cazes as a ghoul for his memoirs and Gourgaud as his lover -> not evoked

8) His death with rumored assassination and his burial like a Russian puppet -> not evoked

9) His ultimate return trip with his splendid tomb at the Invalides -> this is the ending credits and the last shot, beautiful done but lacking of pump and grand music.

Finally, the show underachieves. It's true that the cast is good, starting with Clavier as Bonny, that the production does the maximum to grasp the subject (a thirty years period show!) but it lacks mastery and inspiration of a true author behind the camera. The filming is flat, soulless and without passion. As we have seen for his last days, all the pain that Bonny has lived is throw away because the show is told non chronologically: thus, we have the absurdity of when Bonny dies old, we have moments of him young.

My verdict claims that this ins't the definitive movie about Napoleon's last days.

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