Amadeus (1984)

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Amadeus Review

Amadeus is a 1984 period drama film directed by Milos Forman and a receiver of the Academy Award for Best Picture.

This is one of the rare times when the Academy truly got it right because this film, unlike ‘Gandhi‘ for instance, is truly deserving of every award it got and it is a biographical movie done right. The story is such a fascinating one and it was truly engaging and informative for me because I knew so little about the subject matter and the movie really made use of its themes and setting creating an enriching world and wonderful characters. As for the story, there lies the biggest strength the movie has and that is its approach in storytelling told from Antonio Salieri’s perspective which is incredibly authentic and clever. His relationship with Mozart and his inner demons with his relationship with God and his inability to cope with his ‘mediocrity’ and his inferiority complex because of Mozart are all such powerful themes wonderfully explored here and really thought-provoking and of course informative.

The character development is really good, thankfully so. Mozart is a fleshed-out character as well as his wife, but of course it is Salieri’s show and he is a character worth watching. He is a man you root for, you feel sorry for and you completely understand all due to his excellent relationship with Mozart and both of their great personalities, all testament to a great characterization. The acting is very good across the board. F. Murray Abraham is naturally the standout here and he deserved his Oscar without a doubt. Tom Hulce is solid, but could have been better and Elizabeth Berridge is quite good. But Abraham’s performance added a real flair and professional aspect to the movie.

The soundtrack is fittingly strong and it created a sense and feel to the movie which fits the story’s classical and powerful feel. The tone is good and the dialogue is very smart and polished. The direction from Milos Forman is expectedly superb and he is the reason why all the pieces fit together into a remarkable whole. And of course the attention to detail is evident and the costume design and set design are all magnificent as are the movie’s lush interiors.

But the editing is, quite expectedly and frustratingly, weak and troublesome. There are many sequences that are so incredibly drawn out and extended that the movie achieves its long running time which is needed but could have been a bit shorter nevertheless. Those scenes are the ones with opera performances as well as any musical parts and I know that the film is about that, but it should have been reduced nonetheless. In that sense, the film draws comparisons to ‘The Red Shoes’ in that it is a thrilling and very special picture, but the one which has way too many extended sequences that diminish the movie’s impact and are its biggest flaw.

Due to incredible attention to detail, wonderful interior and costume design, fantastic and informative story, truly powerful finale and a remarkable performance from F. Murray Abraham, Amadeus is truly a special movie and although it has many drawn out sequences mainly with musical pieces and opera performances, it is otherwise a remarkable film that benefits from terrific character development and a wonderful exploration of some truly amazing themes and relationships. It is an entertaining and very professional film that deserved Best Picture.

My Rating – 4,5

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        Interior & Exterior Stills from Amadeus

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