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movie reviewmovie reviewmovie reviewvideo review out of 4 Movie Review: Amadeus

Starring: Tom Hulce, F. Murray Abraham
Director: Milos Forman
Rated: PG
RunTime: 158 Minutes
Release Date: September 1988
Genres: Classic, Drama, Music

*Also starring: Elizabeth Berridge, Simon Callow, Jeffrey Jones, Roy Dotrice, Christine Ebersole, Charles Kay

Reviewer Roundup
1.  Pedro Sena review follows movie reviewmovie reviewmovie review
2.  Steve Rhodes read the review movie reviewmovie reviewmovie reviewmovie review
3.  Harvey Karten read the review ---

Review by Pedro Sena
3 stars out of 4

Of all the films about the arts that have ever been made, I can think of only three that stand out, for its sheer ability to display the art of its creator, so well, and with such vigor. AMADEUS was the first, that I can remember, and much later, and only in 1993, films like TOUS LES MATINS DU MONDE and LA BELLE NOISEUSSE. These films are more about the art of visualization, than they are about anything else. And through their work, we get an idea how a person sees what they see, and they describe what they see, in notes, or paints. TOUS LES MATINS, is a painstakingly beautiful course in music appreciation. NOISEUSSE, is an outstanding expose of what the hands of an artist actually see in a model, from the first line to a finished product.

In between, there is a little of the artist wondering what his own work is worth, and how it is meaningful to him. On occasion, it helps for us to see these images. And at times, the images are events which are locked up inside the creative person, and our seeing them is not very helpful at all. But somehow the work survives, because people see other things in them. And this we have learned to love and appreciate through much of these artist's works.

AMADEUS, is one of those films that stands out, not because of its outstanding cast, and excellent interplay of very well thought out and written dialogue by the playwright himself ( what a difference a playwright makes... ) but also because the story of the young man who became a genius, also had his moments of self doubt, and several personal failures amidst the great successes he enjoyed.

Wofgang Amadeus Mozart, is a wiz with a piano (it wasn't called that then, but it's close enough for us today) under his fingertips, and he set many parties on fire in his younger days of much carousing and womanizing by practicing what was then considered a healthy disrespect for music. But while he had the talent for creating pop events with his dexterity, he also developed several petty jealousies which nearly destroyed him. One of them, was a composer called Salieri, who had the ability to write good music, but his talent was not as free as Mozart's was wild. And the film sets about to show us how Mozart managed to stay away from the vultures that chased him in the world of music, until his body finally gave out. Salieri, had enough ability to recognize the good music, and becomes a good friend by making sure the young man composes, before he destroys himself, which he predicts. And to this effect, he undertakes several charades to make sure the frightened young man is doing the work instead of drinking and carousing.

The film is told in retrospect through the older Salieri, who really misses the music of the young prodigy, and the wonderful moments it created for him as well.

At times, the film takes on the tongue in cheek approach, to make fun of the stodgy music lovers in the court, whom Mozart does not dislike, but the competitive for the king's favorite does make the young man stay on the outside. Instead the young man creates fun stuff for the street audiences, and accomplishes some success, though he is not gaining financially. But still it impresses the older Salieri.

With a superb cast, and lovingly directed to explain, and appreciate the mind of a genius and its destruction, this film stands out as one of the best, and very special ones at that...

Peter Shaeffer, is known for his quality of theatre, and his presence in this work of his, is really one of the few times when a play actually fits the screen better than it could a stage.

Copyright 1994 Pedro Sena

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