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Io e Napoleone/Napoleon and Me

Underdeveloped (and badly packaged)
By JEFFREY GANTZ  |  December 12, 2007
2.0 2.0 Stars
inside_IO-E-NAPOLEONE
SEMI-ENTHUSIASTIC MISTRESS: Bellucci contributes nothing beyond her own Umbrian accent.

Paolo Virzi’s period film (complete with Livornese accents) is set in 1814 on the Tuscan island of Elba, where exiled emperor Napoleon (Daniel Auteuil) has just arrived. Callow young hothead schoolteacher Martino Papucci (Elio Germano) aims to assassinate the emperor, and when Napoleon selects Martino to be his secretary, our hero looks to be set up, but then Napoleon’s charm starts to work on him, as it has on countless others, and it isn’t until Napoleon has Martino’s mentor executed that he’s moved to act — by which time Napoleon is on his way back to France. Complicating matters (but not as much as she should have) is Baroness Emilia Speziali (Monica Bellucci), who starts out as Martino’s semi-enthusiastic mistress and eventually becomes, of course, Napoleon’s. Auteuil is a sympathetically self-absorbed Napoleon, but Germano is one-dimensional and Bellucci contributes nothing beyond her own Umbrian accent. (Sabrina Impacciatore as Martino’s sister is far more enticing.) This might look better on the big screen (my preview screener was dark, with muffled sound and difficult subtitles, and had “Propriété de SND” stamped diagonally across the screen throughout), but it would still be just a good idea that Virzi never developed. Italian | 105 minutes | MFA: December 20-21, 28, 30
Related: Hidden agenda, La Doublure|The Valet, Comme ci, comme ça, More more >
  Topics: Reviews , Daniel Auteuil, Elio Germano, Monica Bellucci
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