Amadeus: Less Would Have Been More

Sometimes I think film makers get a good idea and put together a great cast and production crew and have all the money they need, and then they just create something that exceeds the duration they should have given it.

I’m not opposed to long movies. I’ve enjoyed my share of films hitting the 3-hour duration mark, but Amadeus isn’t on that list.

It’s a high quality movie, don’t let me try to persuade you otherwise, because that’s not my goal. In fact, if someone reads this review and decides not to see the movie, I’ll be disappointed. I just want to make sure they drink some coffee before hand, had a good night’s sleep the night before, or have a large soda available.

Because it’s a looooooooong movie. Overly long.

But that doesn’t really speak to its quality. And Amadeus is a high quality film. I don’t begrudge it the Academy Awards it won:

Best Picture
Best Actor in a Leading Role (F. Murray Abraham)
Best Director
Best Writing, Screenplay Based on Material from Another Medium
Best Art Direction-Set Decoration
Best Costume Design
Best Sound
Best Makeup

I suppose I just wish it was shorter. The narrative took probably twice as long to establish what it needed to, and in the process served up quite a bit of superfluous content. I’m sure that the people who love the movie really enjoyed sitting through all the excess, but for some of us, those extra bits were bordering on painful.

Mandatory Credit: Photo by Universal History Archive/REX (4421088a)
‘Amadeus’ a 1984 period drama film starring F. Murray Abraham, Tom Hulce and Elizabeth Berridge.

But I won’t judge the movie too harshly, just because it took extra time than it should have from my day. I didn’t love it, but all in all the premise was interesting and it was extremely high quality. There’s a phenomenal film in there somewhere, if someone could just take it and rip it up and stitch it back together with about half of the scenes removed.

My rating: 80 out of 100

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