Ridley Scott’s Napoleon amazed the movie pundits, but the French critics rolled their eyes, prompting the filmmaker to launch a scathing attack on them.
During an interview with BBC, the Gladiator director was asked about the lackluster reviews by the French papers on his much-touted project starring Oscar winner Joaquin Phoenix.
In his typical swagger, the Emmy winner dismissed them, saying, “The French don’t even like themselves. The audience that I showed it to in Paris, they loved it,” referring to the premiere earlier this week in the French capital.
Questions also arise over the historical accuracy of the period film, to which the 85-year-old responded, “Were you there? Oh, you weren’t there. Then how do you know?”
Ridley explained the film’s running time, and he tried to rein it in under three hours. “When you start to go ‘oh my God,’ and then you say ‘Christ, we can’t eat for another hour,’ it’s too long.”
The award-winning director also expressed his motivation to tell the story of the divisive figure, “He’s so fascinating. Revered, hated, loved… more famous than any man or leader, or politician in history. How could you not want to go there?”
Napoleon will hit the theatres on 22 November.