Review of Le colonel Chabert on Netflix - based on a book by Balzac

Some of us have heard of the infamous Charge of the Light Brigade during the Crimean War that was a heroic slaughterhouse. I did not know it had a predecessor in the charge of Murat and the Napoleontic cavalry at Prussian Eylau (now Bagrationovsk in Russia) that also costed a huge number of lives but was successful. 

The movie starts with the aftermath of this battle at Eylau. It makes you realise what people would do with all those dead people and horses. The bodies are stripped and swords are piled on swords, coats on a huge coat-pile, bodyarmor  rolls against bodyarmour. Some people are still alive but horribly wounded. Others we follow to their graves. What is not a trench but an apartmentblock of cadavers.

We then made a jump to the office of a Parisian lawyer. A man arrives claiming to be the famous Colonel Chabert who was close to the emperor and had a lot of money. But ten years have passed. He claims to have been severely wounded and been locked in an asylum. On his return to Paris he finds Napoleon on St Helens and the old nobility back and his wife remarried to a count. The lawyer by the way is also the lawyer of the countess.

It made me wonder: Is this guy the real colonel? Is he mad or evil? Is he used to free the count to remarry someone with no links to Napoleon? Is his wife genuine or is she using him instead? And what is the role of that count? And that lawyer?

It is a puzzle that is intriguing. To be honest I do not know.What do you think?












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