Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBBB. USA, 1996. Hollywood Pictures, Cinergi Pictures Entertainment, Dirty Hands Productions. Screenplay by Alan Parker, Oliver Stone, based on the book of the musical play by Tim Rice. Cinematography by Darius Khondji. Produced by Alan Parker, Robert Stigwood, Andrew G. Vajna. Music by Andrew Lloyd Webber. Production Design by Brian Morris. Costume Design by Penny Rose. Film Editing by Gerry Hambling. Academy Awards 1996. Golden Globe Awards 1996.
Madonna couldn’t be better suited to playing the mysterious first lady of Argentina, whose life was cut short at the young age of 33 by cancer. Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice’s magnificent musical score has been brought to the big screen with grandeur, and both Madonna and Antonio Banderas fill the vocal requirements flawlessly. The proceedings get a little muddled when the film tries to deal with the real life and personality of Eva Peron, at odds with the original musical which dealt with the myth surrounding her life and reign (and, by that measure, the disparate viewpoints concerning female monarchs in general). This unevenness makes Madonna’s performance come off as shallow instead of iconic, but she is powerful, energetic and sings beautifully; witnessing the balcony scene where she sings “Don’t Cry For Me Argentina” is movie history in the making. Alan Parker directs with too much emphasis on generalizations and montages, but Gerry Hambling’s editing gives this cinematic opera its life and Darius Khondji’s gorgeous photography suggests the memories of a fading era long lamented.