1 1/2 Stars

Amsterdam (2022)

Seriously, Amster”dumb”

It’s been nine years since the last film I had seen of David O. Russell’s (American Hustle), and seven since his last film (Joy).

In that time, even more has been brought up being in the working atmosphere of David O. Russell (as well as at least one sexual misconduct allegation).

 I am not mentioning this as a way to judge his latest film. However, if his idea was to try and make a film that would resurrect his career as a filmmaker, Amsterdam is not the film to do so.

Not. At. All.

Describing the plot of Amsterdam is borderline strenuous, for the film takes a rather long time to start making sense. It is also rather incredible to look at this film’s IMDB page and see the overabundant cast size. Thankfully, a majority of these actors and actresses will live to fight another day, even though Amsterdam is like throwing a bunch of talents into a pool and forcing them to tread water for two plus hours.

 The film focuses on a trio of friends who met during World War One: Dr. Burt Berendsen (Christian Bale, ever the professional as he dives into another role regardless of the material), his best friend Harold Woodsman (John David Washington), and former nurse Valerie Voze (Margot Robbie), who is also Harold’s love interest. Burt and Harold find themselves mixed up in the death of a U.S. Senator (Ed Begley Jr.), but the Senator’s daughter (Taylor Swift. Yeah, you heard me right) thinks it was murder and hires them to investigate (the Senator was also their commander of sorts in the war).

I can’t overstate the fact that this film has a cast that seems to make up about 10 percent of all of Hollywood. There is a former soldier friend played by Chris Rock, a married couple played by Rami Malek and Anya Taylor-Joy, another nurse played by Zoe Saldana, and a general played by Robert De Niro. Oh, there is also Mike Myers and Michael Shannon (I admit to failure in remembering what their characters do other than helping with Christian Bale’s glass eye.)

The film indeed is down right exquisite to behold, as the production design and cinematography (the latter done by the great Emmanuel Lubeszki), but the result is like a wedding cake that was started the night before, with the focus on the frosting.

Admittedly, some of these actors (particularly the main trio) do have some form of chemistry, and it is nice at times to see the likes of Bale and De Niro (two of the best actors of their generations) share screen time together. You sit there, wishing they were in a different movie.

Parents, the movie is rated R, but it is not for anything sexual related. The rating is mainly for swearing (one F bomb) and violent images. Honestly, it is nothing too bad for a mature middle schooler/high schooler, but good luck to them trying to understand what on earth is going on. 

I turned to my friend Peter during the movie on more than one occasion, knowing we were watching one of the year’s biggest disappointments. We wondered if the movie may have worked better under another director, such as Wes Anderson or the Coen Brothers. That is not to say that David O. Russell is untalented as a director. It is just that, sometimes, the filmmakers vision does not translate.

Well, at least Chris Rock has found a positive in the “Oscars Slap”: it will be what his 2022 is remembered for and not this film.


Rating: 1.5 out of 5.

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