Ridley Scott's (Alien, Gladiator, The Martian) Napoleon baffles as a strangely plotted historical epic that provides no real insight or context into the central characters. The Oscar-winning star Joaquin Phoenix portrays Napoleon Bonaparte as a petulant narcissist whose thirst for power leads to millions of deaths. His fawning fascination with his first wife, Joséphine (Vanessa Kirby) is never explored beyond simplistic sexual idolatry. Gruesome battle scenes are documented by cinematic bullet points that propel the narrative for years at a time. A mostly British cast anglicizes Gallic culture with an unforgivable whitewashing of Napoleon's well-documented racism. It's a myopic approach that gets a few comedic chuckles but leaves the viewer ultimately dissatisfied.