Amadeus (1984) Review

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Rock me Salieri

Amadeus (1984): 7 out of 10: A brilliantly filmed fictional account of the rivalry between Antonio Salieri (Well deserved Oscar winner F. Murray Abraham) and Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (Tom Hulce in a daring performance). 

The costumes and settings are on point as only great Hollywood historical dramas can pull off. (This is one place independent film doesn’t hold a candle to Hollywood). Except for Elizabeth Berridge as Mozart’s wife, the supporting cast is excellent (especially Jeffrey Jones who plays Emperor Joseph the 2nd like Martin Sheen playing a Kennedy.) 

The plotline of an old Salieri confessing to a priest how he turned his back on God after realizing the almighty gave Mozart not himself this divine talent is a wonderful and emotionally satisfying tool to hang the plot. Salieri is a wonderful protagonist, as it is easy to identify with the jealousy one feels towards those to whom talent comes so easy and seems almost squandered. 

Besides Berridge’s performance, there are a few minor quibbles with the film. The music is very opera heavy and not representative of either Mozart’s work or some of the pieces that invariably made him immortal (It’s like doing a biopic of Beethoven and leaving out his 5th and 9th symphonies.) 

The movie is also a bit long and drags some in the middle. In one scene during the performance of The Marriage of Figaro, the Emperor yawns and Salieri goes into great detail how the number of yawns affects how long the opera will run. At 2 hours 40 minutes, it saying something that Amadeus only rated one yawn from me.

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[…] the bad guy wears that mask from Amadeus and his troops look like Gwar started a dance troupe. But many of the sets and costumes carry the […]