Newest Review: ... on the basis of it being a musical. I personally love musicals and of the opinion that the emotions conveyed through song are just as- i... more
Dont Cry For Argentina
Member Name: bilbob20
Advantages: Madonna is on form, the songs are excellent, and the action is good
Disadvantages: Very little historical explanation
Evita is the questionable true story of Argentina's First Lady Eva Peron. Coming from the poor Duarte family, she was bastardised by her father's first wife, who refused to acknowledge her. Down on her luck, Eva Duarte climbed the ranks of Argentina's entertainment industry by bedding famous men who could assist in her career.
Initially, she was a poster girl come actress who eventually met the future President Juan Peron and married him. Presented here as a loveless marriage, it also tells of her fight for acceptance among Argentina's high society. Eventually, Eva Peron accepted her role as voice of the poor, although underground parties alude to the fact that her only agenda was her own.
The story is told through the eyes of the mysterious Che, who plays critique to Evita's rising star. The two only ever meet face to face in a dream sequence later in the film, when Evita is terminally ill. Much of the film, if not all, is told through the medium of song, with an operatic rock soundtrack from the studio of Andrew Lloyd Webber.
Madonna turns in a sterling performance as Eva Peron. Claiming she felt the spirit of the late Peron during filming, perhaps the singer's empathy with the President's wife is due more to her own background where she to had a distinct lack of talent but an absolute hunger for it. Like Peron, Madonna too has forged a career out of clawing her way to the top and maintaining it by controversy and determination. Aside from that though, we'd have a problem if Madonna wasn't any good in the role. Its well documented that she's not a good actress, but if one of the world's most famous singers couldn't pull off a part in a musical, then there's no hope.
Who knew Antonio Banderas could sing his lungs out though. His husky voice and strong Spanish accent make for a thoroughly enjoyable performance. And he may well have had to have singing lessons for the part, but there's no doubt that he has a powerful pair of lungs. His role as Che is also the most engaging, as he is actually forced to connect with the audience through the narrative.
Jonathan Pryce as Juan Peron is a bit of a cold fish, and his voice isn't particularly great. But he has an air of authority about him that makes him believable as the President. Jimmy Nail is a hoot, making an early appearance as a dodgy singer who promises Eva Duarte the world before snatching it away from her after a steamy sordid night. An early appearance of Andrea Corr is also notable if only just for a trainspotting moment.
The soundtrack is a belter, far more rock and appealing than most of Lloyd Webber's overblown works. Madonna's songs are popped up slightly, and she is in her element with the more Madonna-esque side of it. Rainbow High, High Flying Adored and A New Argentina show a formiddable side to her voice. Elsewhere, Bandera's turn with Oh What A Circus is a terrific opener. The best moment comes though when Eva Peron stands on her famous Casa Rosada balcony to deliver a powerful speech in the form of the song Dont Cry For Me Argentina. The moment is repeated for something far more heart-wrenching later in the film.
The problem with turning a very well documented historical figure into a musical, and subsequently a film, is that it leaves very little to the facts. Sure, the timeline is well executed, but how can a musical possibly deal with something as serious as cancer effectively. Instead, its played down, and hammed up in moments of teary singing by the leads. Whilst Madonna still manages to pull sympathy in those scene's, it just feels a bit tasteless. In other scene's, its left to the imagination to fathom whats going on. Clever phrasing in the songs aren't able to articulate events as well as perhaps a straight dramatic film might be able to. Eva Peron's huge contribution to the cause of feminism is completely ignored.
The film in its genre is hugely enjoyable though, and explosive scene's as violence ravages the streets of Beunos Aires give it a feeling of a city in trouble and tells us exactly why the poor in this city had to have somebody to put their faith in. Subtle moments suggest their faith was somewhat unrewarded, but with so little verbal exchanges between characters, its really rather hard to get from this one source what the actual story was. This will never be a historical lession, but its certainly a well made musical with a terrific score.
Summary: Madonna delivers on the songs, the facts are a bit sketchy though