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At-A-Glance Film Reviews

Evita (1996)



Reviews and Comments

Not liking Madonna nor being particularly fond of Andrew Lloyd Webber musicals, this 1996 production of Evita seemed like the last place to find a musical I'd genuinely adore. Yet director Alan Parker has taken the play and turned it in to a wonderful and beautiful film. Andrew Lloyd Webber, Broadway's famed rock opera writer, has made more famous plays -- Cats, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat -- but the lesser known Evita may well be his best. However, translating the play to an effective film was a giant step, and this film version makes the jump with deceptive ease. The one element that makes it so glorious, so fascinating, is how tightly the film is tied with its setting. The cinematography, alternately brutally realistic and dreamily surreal, is a true work of art, subjective cuts and sets complementing the music so perfectly, it's an integral part it. Evita is about the Argentinian heroine of the people, Eva Peron, but it's also about the greater issues of responsibility and betrayal, fame and mortality, that accompany the dubious honor of being a popularly acclaimed icon. As for the music itself, just try to sit through the movie without keeping time to it. (No fair turning the sound off.)

The cropped-for-TV version of this film murders its exquisite cinematography and staging; see it widescreen if at all possible.