I always thought Amadeus was overrated. Last week at the local CostCo, which seems to have all these wonderful classic DVDs for an unbelievably low price lately, I bought the Special Edition Director’s Cut and decided to give it a second chance.
Immediately after the purchase, I just wanted to peruse the DVD. You know, skim through the scenes, check out the special features. I found myself captivated and sat through the whole movie. It was F. Murray Abraham’s Academy Award-winning performance as Italian composer Salieri that just kept me watching. And to think film buffs have turned this guy into a joke because he won the Oscar and disappeared. But his performance truly deserves recognition.
He just gives such a textured, and layered performance. You hate the guy because he’s a jealous twit and despises Mozart. Yet you can’t help but root for him because his passion for music is so rich. He just wants to be as talented as Mozart. But he’s not. It’s the classic case of sympathizing with the antagonist but here you’ll never know it mainly because F. Murray Abraham’s solid performance never gives in to the cliched trappings of a villain.
Then came the scene where a bed-ridden Mozart (Tom Hulce) dictates musical composition to Salieri, helping him finish his masterpiece, Requiem. Both composers, struggling to create this absolute opus; frustrated and inspired all at once. It’s a tour de force performance by both actors, like an operatic duet of sorts.
I’m in awe. Mostly of my stupidity.
I should probably take a second look at the movies I’ve deemed overrated. First West Side Story, now this. I’m realizing that these two movies have wonderful elements in them that make them such worthy entries into the art form. Yet if there’s one thing that stands out with the movies I’m rediscovering so far, it’s the amazing performances of the actors.