Amadeus is a film that bears numerous adjectives with self-confidence: this film is stunning, beautiful, wonderful, powerful, amazing, incredible - and anything stemming off from these words. It's a tremendously rare event when a masterpiece like Amadeus is made; a remarkable movie of jealousy and envy that conveys the biographical story of an extraordinary individual. This film has been a critical success as both a play and a movie. It went on to win several Oscars and it still gathers tremendous acclaim during the contemporary era of cinema.
Amadeus is the story of two composers who lived throughout the 18th century. Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (Hulce) is regarded as the best composer of all time. This film chronicles the period of his prime when his greatest work was composed: a time when Mozart's outstanding imagination allowed him to simply write music as if it was dictation. The film is also concerned with a second composer: a man named Antonio Salieri (Abraham). Salieri is a court composer for the current emperor (Jones). Salieri has aspirations of becoming a flourishing composer since his childhood. However his imperfect abilities are highlighted by the works of the young Mozart whose music is divine. He believes that God is mocking his mediocrity through Mozart's music, and Salieri cannot understand how God could favour such an uncouth individual as his instrument. Driven by rage and jealousy, Salieri instigates a scheme to bring about the fall of Mozart. The film is told in flashback as Salieri is now confined to a mental asylum. Now aging and slowly going insane, he tells the story of how he caused the failure of Mozart; how he gained Mozart's trust that he later betrayed.
One must remember that Amadeus is based on a play, not on history. The film indicates that the character of Salieri was involved in the eventual death of Mozart. In history there is barely any indication at all - instead his death was recognised as a combination of alcoholism and depression. If you're expecting an elaborate film based solely on fact you may be disappointed. This is the film's single flaw.
Amadeus is a film that never grows dreary. Although at a length of about 150 minutes you will never feel bored. Every aspect of the production is faultless. The sound and music are truly sublime; the collaboration of acting and directing is outstanding; cinematography and editing are wonderful; with costumes and art direction that are generally terrific. In short: this is almost a definitive example of crafting a faultless movie. It's long but far from overlong. Every member of the cast and crew did their job to perfection; never is a false note struck.
The powerhouse performances are truly incredible to behold. F. Murray Abraham was correctly presented with an Oscar for 'Best Actor in a Leading Role' (actor Tom Hulce was also nominated in the same category) for his fascinating characterisation of a man fuelled by envy and antagonism. Tom Hulce as Mozart is yet another magnificent decision of the casting department. He nails the role of the multi-faceted tragic composer. No-one would ever have an image like this of Mozart in their head: Hulce displays the raw childish nature of the man. His mannerisms, inappropriate sentences, irritating laugh - all played to perfection by an actor who excels at his profession. The whole cast perfectly capture the emotional depth of the character they are portraying. Astonishing work!
Visually, Amadeus is perfectly created. The film features sets and costumes that feel like a photograph of its period. Never is there a lack of focus in any part of the creative team. The directing in particular is absolutely breathtaking. Never is there a lapse in concentration for any shot. From start to finish, the film is exquisitely filmed and a pleasure to view. For a film that runs for 150 minutes this aspect is vital.
Amadeus is truly a masterpiece of marvellous magnitude. A beautiful piece of art! Winner of several Oscars including Best Picture.