Free «Amadeus» Essay


What is a genius? Are talent and morality compatible? What is the price that one has to pay for success? These are just few core questions that Milos Forman's Oscar-winning film Amadeus addresses. A provocative story of ambition, fascination and envy told on behalf of Antonio Salieri approaching his death, is a combination of marvelous cinematography and brilliant soundtrack, if it is possible to call Mozart's glorious pieces of music this way. The film is a narration about a well-known competition of Mozart and Salieri who are both courtier composers of the Emperor. In the course of the unfolding events the viewer has an opportunity to trace the growing feeling of hate and jealousy that Salieri feels for his competitor. The work explores apparent injustice of life when inborn gift is generally higher than lifelong labor.

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Playing of the actors deserves applause for being both natural and eccentric, which reflects the nature of genius. The plot is organized in the way that views can have flashbacks into the characters past to trace the motives of Salieri, ambiguity and transformation of his attitude to Mozart. Because the story is told on his part, the perspective is created entirely by him, so it is natural that he recalls compassion despite his controversial behavior. The stories of both characters are presented as dramatic, revealing that one has to pay with loneliness and loss for a genius, as popularity does not mean acceptance.

The use of music in the film is outstanding, which is no wonder taking into account that the film is actually about the most popular composers of their epoch. Obviously, music is used to emphasize the characters' feelings and reveal the meaning of certain conflicts and turning points in their life, like death of Mozart's father and joint composing of music by Mozart and Salieri. Moreover, music is not only a background but also a structural element of the plot as it serves a certain bridge that makes the director switch from the present to the past events smoothly. This technique is almost impeccable as applied in the film, and guide the viewer into the past.

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The film demonstrates that there is a close connection because life traumas and creativity. In a peculiar way, it reveals how horribly resourceful tragedies can be for geniuses. Thus, the film shows the connection between Mozart's father death and its musical outcome( Jameson n.d). Emotionally, creative people feed on their feelings, either positive or negative, and melt them into a work of art. The conclusion can be made that this perspective is ambiguous though inevitable for people like Mozart and Salieri. Their personal life is laid at the altar of art, and they cannot separate one from the other.

Apart from its artistic value, the film is obviously a subjective record of real historical events that took place when the two composers worked. Their competition is a historically known fact, while the question whether Salieri actually killed Mozart is still open to discussion. However, in the film the very fact of Mozart's death is not the main focus. Instead, it focuses on the underlying psychological motives of Salieri's hate for Mozart, its roots and development.

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Personally, I find this film worth attention despite the fact that it is devoid of vivid action and entertaining focus to which the viewers are so much accustomed today. Nevertheless, it can attract attention of people who are interested both in history and music. Non-trivial plot, skillfully drawn characters and the director’s original perspective make it outstanding as a work of art. Magnificent masterpieces of music combined with the actors’ performance evoke a range of feelings in the viewers who are interested in internal conflicts more than in external events.

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