Friday, February 26, 2010

#142 Amadeus (1984)


Director: Milos Forman

Cast: Tom Hulce, F. Murray Abraham, Elizabeth Berridge, Simon Callow, Roy Dotrice, Christine Ebsersole

The remarkable story of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart told through the deranged eyes of Antonio Salieri, court composer for the Austrian crown. To begin, we find Salieri in an insane asylum, rehashing his life to a priest-- not in confession, but rather in boast-- as he claims to be the murderer of the great composer, Mozart.

The story, then, is told through flashback, as we listen to Salieri describe his ongoing jealousy of Mozart's genius, unable to understand why God had chosen to bestow such a gift onto a man so "vulgar." The plot, then, follows suit, and we watch Salieri plot Mozart's eventful demise, leaving even the most joyful parts of the film with a sinister after taste.

I thought the acting of the film, particularly by Tom Hulce, was extraordinarily entertaining to watch. Mozart is portrayed as a gay, happy, and extremely brilliant man with a laugh so giggly, womanly, and cutting that I found myself just waiting to hear it again and again. The film hinted at the brilliant Victorian joy that the film Marie Antoinette has-- as the story takes place at the identical time period of Coppola's film. Antoinette is often mentioned in this film as well, as the king of Austria whom Mozart and Salieri strive for the approval of... is her brother.

While at times extremely amusing and joyful, the story really is one of evil and jealousy. Perhaps it was just my mood, but I found myself wishing the whole film had been of Mozart dumping champagne on himself at parties with that silly giggle.
Nevertheless, separating myself from that, I really did think it was a great film, and it certainly has the awards to back that theory up.

And I can't go without mentioning that the music and costuming of this film are absolutely mind-blowing.

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