Amsterdam (2022)

“In the 1930s, three friends witness a murder, are framed for it, and uncover one of the most outrageous plots in American history.” -IMDB

Amsterdam (2022)

It shouldn’t be a huge surprise that this David O. Russell film is a bit…scattered. I’m not a huge fan of his films, which always seem to focus on relatively innocuous details instead of the the central storyline. However, in this instance, choosing to focus on the innocuous ended up doing an incredible disservice to all of the other elements within the film.

While the movie begins as a bit of a whodunnnit (AKA who ran over T-Swift with their car and why), but then ultimately unfolds into a wild true story of a coup attempt on the U.S. government and President Roosevelt in the lead up to World War II. A fascinating enough story as it is, not to mention all of the relevant issues related to this attempt, including racial tensions, veteran’s issues, the rise of fascism, and the vast ocean between the elite and the impoverished. ALSO, not to mention the stellar actors bringing the story to life, including (but not limited to) John David Washington, Margot Robbie, Christian Bale, Chris Rock, and Robert DeNiro, just to name a few.

It seems that the David O. Russell aesthetic, which I named earlier as scattered but which you may call something else (perhaps with a more positive connotation…), could not be reigned in. I sometimes feel that Russell’s films (Baz Luhrmann’s at times, as well) are made more for a trailer than for a full run time. They focus on the dazzling the audience in three minutes, but tend to lose heart over the course of two and a half hours. By focusing on Christian Bale’s character’s drug problem or Margot Robbie’s character’s early 20th century manic pixie dream girl energy, the audience is distracted from a truly compelling and frightfully resonant story.

The movie had substance and there seemed to be heart in there somewhere, but ultimately the soul of the movie was missing. And while it was not a surprise, it was more of a disappointment than usual given the quality of its elements and the importance of its subject matter.

Rating: 6 out 10 Claire Bears


If you like this movie, you should also watch: See How They Run, Where the Crawdads Sing

Streaming: Available to rent or own on Apple TV

With: Christian Bale, John David Washington, Margot Robbie

Directed By: David O. Russell

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