Waterloo follows the exile and return of the famous Napoleon Bonaparte (Rod Steiger). After losing everything Napoleon is forced out of France onto the Isle of Elba. But soon he returns to France with a small army which only grows in numbers. Napoleon will lead his new army into battle, facing the British at the Battle of Waterloo.
Personally, I will confess straight away and admit that I am not a huge history buff. Naturally, I was curious to see this film as I have always heard mixed opinions about it. Thanks to Imprint Films, this movie has now been released for the very first time on Blu-ray within Australia.
As the film begins, I was surprised to find little to no character development for Napoleon himself. He’s just there. This is the type of war film which does not focus on its characters to give an understanding of how they became who they are today. This is simply a war film which takes a movie lover right into Napoleon’s world with no back story on the character himself.
As for performances, Rod Steiger, who plays Napoleon, was quite fitting for the role. You can feel for the character, particularly when he attempts to be confident in battle. Despite the film beginning with little character development for Napoleon, we start to gain more of an insight into him during battle. During the war scenes we also get to hear his inner thoughts and concerns. Christopher Plummer, who plays Arthur Wellesley (Duke of Wellington) was easily the main stand out for this film.
The filming style of Waterloo is pleasing, particularly during the third act. The battle itself is impressive and quite an achievement considering when the film was made. The positive feedback also goes for the film’s audio track. I was amazed at how bright the audio track was, mainly when it came to voice dialogue. It was beautifully clean and crisp.
Overall, Waterloo is undoubtedly best enjoyed by those who personally love war and history. For me, Waterloo started a little slow but became more enjoyable as I progressed further. The film’s third act, including the big battle sequence, is something extraordinary to see on the big screen. The visuals are pleasing, and the film’s audio track was also bright and crisp at all times thanks to the recent re-release from Imprint Films in Australia.
Waterloo (1970) is Now Available on Blu-ray
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Review Written by Peter Walkden