Evita (1996) – Alan Parker

Let’s face it, they can’t all be winners.

I’m enjoying the Great Movies – 100 Years of Film book, and have always enjoyed a good musical. Unfortunately, this one, Evita, a recommendation following my screening of West Side Story just couldn’t hold my attention.

A theatrical adaptation of the long running stage musical featuring music and lyrics by Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice, this should have had everything going for it. It’s got a fantastic director in Alan Parker, a solid cast featuring Madonna, Antonio Banderas and Jonathan Pryce, and a screenplay written by Parker and Oliver Stone.

I just couldn’t find a way into it.

Madonna plays Eva Peron, a woman who climbed the social ranks in Argentina to become first a radio star, a film star and finally the wife of Argentinian president Juan Peron (Pryce).

She was both loved and hated, and the political unrest of the country and the world cast her into the spotlight.

Banderas pops up through the entire film, as Che, a bit of a guide/narrator and he, at least, seems to be having a pretty good time, especially in the number chronicling Eva’s social advancement through a number of high level, and high profile love affairs.

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Unlike other Andrew Lloyd Webber musicals this one doesn’t seem to have any stand out numbers except for the iconic “Don’t Cry for Me, Argentina.” All of the music seems to blend into one another, and I honestly would have walked out of the theatre frustrated by this one – I like to have something to hum or whistle, but there was absolutely no hook in this entire film for me.

The film did walk away with one Oscar, for the song “You Must Love Me,” which is funny, because I couldn’t tell you what it sounded like.

Alan Parker has had a very successful string of films, and I usually enjoy his work quite a bit, but no matter how I tried, there was nothing to catch my interest in this film. For a musical, there wasn’t a lot of choreographed dance sequences, for a political bio-pic there were a lot of songs. It just didn’t work.

Having said that, I must admit to never having seen the stage show, and while it’s probably fantastic, my experience with this film will probably keep me at a healthy distance from wanting to see it for quite some time.

It’s troubling.

What’s a musical that you don’t like that everyone else seems to like?

Evita-DI

 

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