Amadeus—The Director's Cut
- compiled by Jeffrey Overstreet Copyright Christianity Today International
- 2002 1 Jan
Moviegoers looking for a "sure thing" can celebrate the return of a classic. Milos Forman's grand, powerful biopic
From Tom Hulce's unforgettable, giddy cackle to F. Murray Abraham's scornful scowl, Amadeus is as funny, dramatic, and dazzling as it was when it opened. It rewards multiple viewings—there's just so much to enjoy. Sensational performances by a first-rate cast. A witty, intelligent script. Decadent productions of great opera. A hit parade of Mozart's greatest work. And a story that raises profound spiritual questions. (Viewers should note, however, that the 35 extra minutes raises the originally PG movie to an R, mainly due to some nudity when Salieri blackmails Mozart's wife, Constanza. On the other hand, there's also much more of Salieri praying in the new version).
Most religious critics haven't written about the re-release. But Eric and Lisa Rice (
Mainstream critics are celebrating. Michael Wilmington (
Abraham deservedly won an Oscar for his work as Salieri, the second-rate composer who is consumed by envy as he watches Mozart's rise to fame. Salieri eventually dons a ghostly mask and attempts to haunt Mozart and drive him mad. Salieri's envy makes him a wrathful villain reminiscent of the devil in
Amadeus does what great art should do. It offers us an unflinching vision of life in its beauty and ugliness, it glory and its seeming unfairness, and it asks us what sense we can make of it. Mozart's story vividly portrays how God deals with the proud and gives grace to the humble.