Monsieur N review

Eurotrash host Antoine De Caunes is not the first person you'€™d associate with a costume drama charting Napoleon'€™s final years, but the English-mangling presenter-turned-director makes a fair fist of this handsome period piece. The problems lie more with the script, which renders a fascinating puzzle -€" did Bonaparte really die in exile on St Helena? -€" sluggish and turgid.

Unlike The Emperor'€™s New Clothes, which imagined Ian Holm'€™s despot back in France, Monsieur N confines its hero (Philippe Torreton) to his island prison, ekeing out his days under the watchful eye of Richard E Grant's twitchy governor. But is Boney beaten, or is he quietly plotting his escape? Screenwriter Rene Manzor employs a Citizen Kane-style framing device to explore the various conspiracy theories -€" was Napoleon poisoned by the British? Was his butler buried in his place? -€" but his stubborn refusal to resolve the mystery reeks of cop-out. Not tonight, Josephine.

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