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Overall Rating

Worth A Look: 16.67%
Average: 13.33%
Pretty Bad: 15%
Total Crap: 21.67%

3 reviews, 42 user ratings

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by Rob Gonsalves

"Shallow Madonna musical."
3 stars

For all the sound and fury of 'Evita,' I had a tough time staying awake.

Visually, the movie is gorgeous. Director Alan Parker and the great cinematographer Darius Khondji (who shot Seven) make glorious use of the wide screen. But I'd rather see a crappy-looking film with some heart and soul. Evita comes dangerously close to being a parade of beautiful hollow images.

That said, I doubt any director could have made a good movie from Andrew Lloyd Webber's baffling and shallow musical. Except for Cats, which has T.S. Eliot's poetry and some luscious costumes and lights going for it, Lloyd Webber's work leaves me cold. Those who enjoy his brand of pompous pop may not mind the numbingly repetitive Evita; at times, I felt as if I were trapped inside a jukebox that only plays three songs.

The basic story whizzes by. The poor but ambitious Eva Duarte (Madonna) sleeps her way to the top, marrying Juan Perón (Jonathan Pryce), future president of Argentina. Eva becomes a sort of ab-fab representative of the people, though the movie suggests that it's merely another career move by a woman who craves love and acceptance. Meanwhile, the cynical narrator Ché (Antonio Banderas) keeps rolling his eyes and singing a series of "Get a load of this" commentaries.

We get a load of it, all right. Alan Parker actually can do small, enjoyable human stories (Shoot the Moon, Birdy, The Commitments); he works best with material that doesn't require him to push so hard. Here he's in his overbearing razzle-dazzle mode, where slick technique and surface excitement are everything. After about an hour you get jaded: "Gee, another painstakingly composed crowd shot." To be fair to Parker, Evita probably couldn't have been filmed any other way, which raises the question of whether it should have been filmed at all.

It's no compliment to Madonna to say that this is the role she's been waiting for. She's in decent voice, and she handles her deathbed scenes deftly, but most of her performance is a pose -- again, a problem originating with the material. Eva is vogueing through history. A real actress might have brought some slyness and depth to Eva's machinations. Banderas (who sings surprisingly well) and Pryce seem to be having more fun; unlike Madonna, they don't feel they have anything to prove to us, and they have a natural elegance that the expensively-attired star lacks.

Yet the screening I attended was packed, and there was scattered applause at the end -- something I haven't heard at a movie in years. It's easy to see why. Evita is noisy and blunt, and it presents itself as a serious musical epic (the illusion is often trashed by Lloyd Webber's dated disco-rock orchestrations). No question, it's the event movie of the season. The applause also says that Madonna is now respectable. The ridiculed sex priestess has become a pop icon your grandma could approve of. You don't have to like Madonna to be disturbed by the homogenization our culture imposes on provocative women.

In 'Evita,' the controversial but redeemed Eva Perón ascends to Hollywood good-girl heaven, and Madonna is right beside her.

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originally posted: 01/13/07 09:54:31
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User Comments

11/07/19 Louise (the real one) Couldn't stomach Madonna, plus songs not sung right & some inaccuracies not in the original 2 stars
8/16/14 Charles Tatum Theater geeks will love it, but I was bored. 2 stars
7/11/10 Carmen Madonna was a bit stony in that, Pryce was great .but there was some damn weird music! 2 stars
1/15/10 Cody It was really good! If you don't like the people in it, you won't like it though! 5 stars
1/23/07 Sepi53 great music and Madonna is good! 4 stars
11/22/05 Michael Ok music video, bad movie 2 stars
5/09/05 sbpat21 good movie, suffers from the bombast of Webber 4 stars
10/19/04 John A musical without any charm and real emotion 2 stars
7/16/04 DM Superb direction, Banderas is great, but music is bad and.....MADONNA? 2 stars
6/26/04 Alex much better than expected 4 stars
4/20/04 Kelly wilson breathe taking 5 stars
4/16/04 Ashley Evita Rocks! 5 stars
11/23/03 Jennifer It's the best movie ever! 5 stars
6/01/03 Rob Madonna was Eva. Spectacular showcase of a patriarch's life. 5 stars
5/09/03 mr. Pink Way better than anyone could've predicted. Entertaining, well-played and directed. 4 stars
4/26/03 Goofy Maxwell Muerte a Evita. 2 stars
4/24/03 Ragin' Pope Angus Dear God, make the pain go away. It sucked donkeys. 1 stars
3/27/03 Robert It sucks like shit. I wanted that dam movie to stop, but it didn't. Antonio sucks shit. 1 stars
11/25/02 Kyle Overall, not very good. But worth seeing just for the dramatic first 15 minutes! 4 stars
9/05/02 Chancey Thunderpants I fucking hate musicals, and this was particularly bad. Madonna's a blackhole of an actress 1 stars
8/13/02 1983 Madonna is fine: overly long & some music is far too turgid. 4 stars
3/25/02 Jimmy Bad movie 1 stars
1/22/02 Andrew Carden Gives The Broadway Musical A Bad Name. 1 stars
1/11/02 Travis R. Sorensen way too much singing. some of the sequences work and madonna and banderas are good 4 stars
8/29/01 Gary It has to be said: Madonna was fucking great. Every word didn't need to be sung tho. 4 stars
6/26/01 Natasha Fox stunning and inspiring,Madonna's best performance to date 5 stars
5/23/01 Matthew This movie was great! Nice music. Where's the Oscar win? 5 stars
5/06/01 Rohit Johari The greatest movie of all time! 5 stars
4/01/01 Jesse L Madonna ruins it. 1 stars
4/19/00 yankee decent, good music, no plot, Madonna once in a while has a good voice, 3 stars
12/18/99 Kim Madonna desreves an oscar and Banderas is hot and cool. Great music!! 5 stars
10/05/99 the Grinch Overblown, grandiose bullshit by overrated hack Andrew Lloyd Weber...Stay away! 2 stars
8/24/99 Elizaveta Once is most definitely enough for a lifetime. 3 stars
8/18/99 Rodney Duke Madonna And Antonio Are Awesome 5 stars
6/15/99 Dylan Under rated. 5 stars
2/12/99 mandy Madonna is in it. 5 stars
12/16/98 Scion of Graveheart There was a Madonna movie?! 5 stars
10/27/98 Silent Rob Very well done, but only for those who care. (Damn I hate Webber) 4 stars
9/13/98 Dave Pelletier A good movie, in spite of Banderas! 4 stars
9/06/98 Helle Marie Fuck everybody that don`t like it- it`s great! 5 stars
8/28/98 Mister Whoopee Antonio Banderas was the only one in this who had the right accent and he's not Argentinian 1 stars
8/25/98 Miss Stress I had the fuckin songs stuck in my head for weeks, i hate that 2 stars
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  25-Dec-1996 (PG)



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