Nutshell Review: Amsterdam
PG Score: 6.25/10
Amsterdam was released in U.S. theaters on 10/7/22
Having recently been there myself and seeing the A-List lineup, I was very excited to see David O. Russell's (I Heart Huckabees, Silver Linings Playbook) Amsterdam. Rarely missing, Russell has directed some amazing films with excellent actors, some who are in this film, so it was a big surprise with how off the mark this film was. There were some enjoyable aspects, but the cons most definitely outweigh the pros.
Propped Up by Three Leads
The premise of the film never quite resonates, through no fault of our three leading stars. Christian Bale (The Dark Knight) rarely, if ever, turns in a bad performance and this film was no exception. Playing Burt, a doctor who messes around with pain meds and helps other World War I veterans dealing with lingering pain and disfigurements, Bale steals every scene he is in. Margot Robbie (I, Tonya) as Valerie is charming as ever and plays the free-spirited world traveler-turned-nurse who meets the other two leads after they have been horribly wounded.
The chemistry between her, Bale and our third lead, John David Washington (Tenet) is what stands out, making the film seem better than it actually is. Washington has a slow start, with his acting coming off as a bit wooden in his first scene, but the rest of the film he excels and the relationship between Harold (Washington) and Valerie (Robbie) comes across very well.
The story. What can I say about the story? Honestly, it is mostly nonsensical filler. It's all over the place and bounces around a lot, leaving us with a lackluster conclusion. The premise of Amsterdam is that of a murder mystery drags all three of our lead actors into a dangerous world of espionage and politics. Unfortunately, the excellent supporting cast can't save this sinking ship. Even the title is a bit of a misnomer. The three leads really bond after the War in Amsterdam, but we get very little glimpses of the city itself and it doesn't really have an effect on the rest of the plot.
An Overall Letdown
Robert De Niro, Anya Taylor-Joy, and Rami Malek all get drawn into the story through one connection or another, but even with their performances, the story still lacks cohesion. All the name power in the world can't save this film from being the disappointment it is, and it is only because of the acting of our main trio that I am giving this grade. Is Amsterdam worth seeing? No.
Unfortunately, Amsterdam might only be tolerable if you're watching it in one of those "green" Amsterdam coffeeshops ;)