Amadeus Review

1144 words - 5 pages

Amadeus Most movies about artists tend to be dull and uninspired, portraying the subject of the film far less interesting than his or her work. Amadeus, however, is an exception. It is a fairly well known film by Peter Shaffer on Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's life with a very interesting dramatic story. Amadeus covers the time that Mozart spent mostly in Vienna, the musical center of Europe at the time. The film chronicles Mozart's triumphs and failures as viewed by the film's protagonist and most complex character, Antonio Salieri, who was Court Composer to Emperor Franz Joseph II of Austria. Amadeus begins in the 1820s, with an aging Antonio Salieri screaming "Mozart! I killed you!" and attempting suicide. After being taken to a mental hospital, Salieri is visited by a priest who comes to hear Salieri's confession, and it is this confession that forms the film's narrative and the root of Salieri's agony. Before telling his confession, Salieri plays for the priest a few of his own musical pieces on the harpsichord. However, although years before these musical pieces had been nothing but popular and famous, they were now completely unrecognized by the priest. Salieri then starts playing Mozart's "Eine Kleine Nachtmusik," which the priest recognizes instantly. It is then that Salieri realizes that he was once a famous composer, but has now slipped into obscurity while Mozart, the genius long dead, has achieved musical immortality.The film spans the life of the protagonist, Antonio Salieri, who has desired, since he was a child, to be a great composer. As a boy and later as a young man, Salieri is deeply religious with an equally deep love for music. His greatest desire in life is to serve and praise God through his music. As he composes musical pieces, he looks up at a crucifix and thanks God when he completes a phrase. Salieri is content with his talent and status as Court Composer for Emperor Franz Joseph II. However, when he learns of the arrival in Vienna of his time's greatest musical genius, he is impelled to come see this person whose name he has always known. This person is Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. Salieri recognizes greatness in Mozart's music, however, he is horrified to find that the man he admires is a childish man who chases women, drinks, and has little or no respect for the manners of decent society. Salieri's repugnance for Mozart grows as he gets to know him and witnesses his musical talent. Salieri brims over with jealousy when he hears Mozart's music and realizes God has blessed Mozart with the gift of music, not him. Believing God to have placed his favor upon an undeserving individual, Salieri views this situation as a reproach from God and becomes determined to strike back. He burns the crucifix and declares war on His Heavenly Father. Salieri then becomes obsessed with conspiring against Mozart and uses his own influence to get in the way of Mozart's career at nearly every turn until he eventually kills him. Only in the end,...

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