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A movie directed by Milos Forman

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Confession of Brilliance

  • Feb 22, 2007
'Amadeus' is an all-around well-crafted masterpiece. It is one of those rare movies that is both frolicking fun and an epic classic. How much of the movie is true or revisionism doesn't matter as much as how they use true elements to frame the enigma of Mozart's persona and genius.

There are two stories really: The main story is about Mozart (Tom Hulce), but it is told by an aged Solieri (F. Murray Abraham), Mozart's envious nemesis, at an asylum where a priest comes to hear his confession. Bitter about life, Solieri rails against God Himself for feeling scorned by the eclipse of Mozart's talent. Every time we leave the narrative into the flashbacks of Solieri's telling recount, we often are shattered as we come back to the cell with the sympathetic but perturbed priest--so absorbing is the story. Amadeus is reckless and playful. Having a wealthy father who scorns his son's frivolousness, Amadeus evaporates his monetary resources through wine, women, and song. For the latter he only squanders through his venue. For if he weren't such a serious composer and gave lessons, he wouldn't be in such a financial bind. Considered an eccentric, he is, nevertheless, hired by the Emperor of Austria, to be a court composer in Vienna. Solieri, an admirer of Mozart, has a big hand to play, for he is in charge of all the court music. In the company of two other Italian composers, Solieri outnumbers and outpowers Amadeus in many ways. Solieri has a plot by which he thinks by vanquishing Mozart, he will perversely reek revenge on God.

'Amadeus' encompasses the genius of its subject matter. With eight Oscars, including Best Picture and Best Actor for Abraham, it is one of the greatest films assembled. The craftsmanship is marvelous. Neville Mariner's score makes the whole experience worthwhile by itself. Elizabeth Berridge's portrayal as Mozart's wife yields are sympathy, and Tom Hulce makes the whole affair an entertaining romp. Even the priest frames our interest with his facial expressions, accentuating the audiences' horror and fascination. Not to mention the scenery and costumes that have a splendour of their own. After almost twenty-five years, 'Amadeus' is an untarnished jewel for the eyes, ears, and heart.

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More Amadeus reviews
review by . July 30, 2003
posted in Movie Hype
For those about to see this film for the first time, they can expect a feast for their senses...at least in terms of sight and sound. Both the production values and the music are magnificent. In 1984, it received Academy Awards for best director (Milos Forman) and leading actor (F. Murray Abraham) as well as for adapted screenplay, art direction, costume design, makeup, and sound. It was also nominated for cinematography and deserved that award also, losing out to The Killing Fields. Although Wolfgang …
review by . July 26, 2002
The bit a lot of people miss about Amadeus is not so much that it's a fiction (this really shouldn't come as a surprise to anyone: it purports to be the recounted story of a person in a madhouse, after all), but that it's an adaptation of a play. Like most playwrights, Peter Shaffer (he of Equus) was not interested in historical accuracy to documentary standard - and nor is this picture. In fact, it's much cleverer than that - what we get here is a beautifully scripted essay on Envy, God and your …
review by . October 11, 2000
This is a great movie, but what impressed me is the quality of the Dolby 3.2 soundtrack. It is absolutely the best demonstration and test of what is great about home theater sound versus stereo. If you love classical music, this soundtrack will absolutely send you into ectasy.
About the reviewer
John L. Peterson ()
Ranked #99
I am a substitute teacher who enjoysonline reviewing. Skiing is my favorite pastime; weight training and health are my obsessions;and music and movies feed my psyche. Books are a treasure and a pleasure … more
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About this movie


The satirical sensibilities of writer Peter Shaffer and director Milos Forman (One Flew over the Cuckoo's Nest) were ideally matched in this Oscar-winning movie adaptation of Shaffer's hit play about the rivalry between two composers in the court of Austrian Emperor Joseph II--official royal composer Antonio Salieri (F. Murray Abraham), and the younger but superior prodigy Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (Tom Hulce). The conceit is absolutely delicious: Salieri secretly loathes Mozart's crude and bratty personality, but is astounded by the beauty of his music. That's the heart of Salieri's torment--although he's in a unique position to recognize and cultivate both Mozart's talent and career, he's also consumed with envy and insecurity in the face of such genius. That such magnificent music should come from such a vulgar little creature strikes Salieri as one of God's cruelest jokes, and it drives him insane.Amadeuscreates peculiar and delightful contrasts between the impeccably re-created details of its lavish period setting and the jarring (but humorously refreshing and unstuffy) modern tone of its dialogue and performances--all of which serve to remind us that these were people before they became enshrined in historical and artistic legend. Jeffrey Jones, best-known as Ferris Bueller's principal, is particularly wonderful as the bumbling emperor (with the voice of a modern midlevel businessman). The film's eight Oscars include statuettes...
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