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Amadeus - A review
F. Murray Abraham and Tom Hulce star in 'Amadeus', the story of Antonio Salieri, court composer to the Holy Roman Emperor in Vienna; and Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, the precociously talented young composer whom Salieri simultaneously admires and despises.
Abraham is simply amazing in the role of Salieri, rightly winning the Best Actor Oscar in 1984. The film begins with an elderly Salieri attempting suicide, while begging forgiveness for the murder of Mozart. He is promptly placed in a lunatic asylum where he recounts the tale of his meeting with Mozart to a young priest. The priest doesn't recognise any of Salieri's work, but is all too familiar with that of Mozart, and you really feel the pain and defeat that Salieri feels over this.
We then see the younger Salieri, proud and successful, meeting Mozart for the first time and struggling to reconcile this incredible music with the childish, lewd man he is presented with. You really feel the torment Salieri suffers as he realises the mediocrity of his own music, and his struggles with a God who blesses such talent on somebody like Mozart. For me, the mark of a good actor is that you forget the actor and only see a character and Abraham undoubtedly achieves this.
Mozart is played by Tom Hulce, also nominated for the Best Actor Oscar. Hulce gives an interesting performance and his loud, brash Mozart is a great contrast to the reserved, religious Salieri.
One of my favourite things about 'Amadeus' is the music. Packed full of pieces composed by Mozart and Salieri, the film is a treat for any lover of classical music. There are scenes from operas such as 'The Magic Flute' and 'The Marriage of Figaro', as well as excerpts from Mozart's Requiem Mass, among other pieces.
Abraham and Hulce are ably supported by an excellent cast, including Elizabeth Berridge as Constance Mozart, Roy Dotrice as the stern Leopold Mozart and a great performance by Geoffrey Jones as the bumbling Emperor Joseph II, who so loves Salieri's music.
Adapted by Tony Shaffer from his own Tony winning play, 'Amadeus' won 8 Oscars, including Best Picture, and is a powerful, emotional film documenting the life of a legendary figure. At points it will make you laugh, at other points it will make you cry, such is its emotional pull. 'Amadeus' is a must watch movie for anybody who enjoys drama, historical films or great performances.