Director: David O. Russell
Runtime: 2h 14m
Cast: Christian Bale, Margot Robbie, John David Washington, Alessandro Nivola, Andrea Riseborough, Anya Taylor-Joy, Chris Rock, Matthias Schoenaerts, Michael Shannon, Mike Myers, Taylor Swift, Timothy Olyphant, Zoe Saldaña, Rami Malek, and Robert De Niro
Synopsis: David O Russell [American Hustle (2013), Joy (2015)] is back with this fascinating and richly intricate tale that brilliantly weaves historical fact with fiction for a timely, cinematic experience. Russell’s star-studded crime epic follows three close friends who witness a murder, become suspects themselves and uncover one of the most outrageous plots in American history.
Acclaimed filmmaker David O. Russell’s Amsterdam is an epic story spanning eras and a comedic thriller about love, loyalty, and reasons to live in the face of amazing unknown true history, as it follows three tight friends and everyone they encounter on their adventure.
It is a fascinating and richly intricate tale that brilliantly weaves historical fact with fiction based on The Business Plot also called the The White House Putsch – a political conspiracy in 1933 in the United States to overthrow the government of President Franklin D. Roosevelt and install a dictator.
A rich cinematic experience with a glittering powerhouse cast, the film stars Christian Bale, Margot Robbie, John David Washington, Alessandro Nivola, Andrea Riseborough, Anya Taylor-Joy, Chris Rock, Matthias Schoenaerts, Michael Shannon, Mike Myers, Taylor Swift, Timothy Olyphant, Zoe Saldaña, Rami Malek, and Robert De Niro.
Gorgeous cinematography from Emmanuel Lubezki, Judy Becker’s excellent production design, and Albert Wolsky’s fabulous costumes make this a good-looking zany tale packed with ignorance, racism and murderous malice.
Written and directed by five-time Oscar® nominee David O. Russell [American Hustle, Silver Linings Playbook, The Fighter], Amsterdam has a very busy, complicated plot and the opening credits inform us: A lot of this actually happened
Burt Berendsen (Christian Bale) and Harold Woodman (John David Washington) play World War I veterans and fierce friends — soldiers who crossed the racial divide in France — and Valerie Voze (Margot Robbie) plays an inventive nurse who treats them. Back in the USA this bonded trio stumble onto a plot to overthrow the U.S. government while being framed for murder in 1930s New York.
It uses these three fictional characters to explore a real event in the runup to the Second World War in which a cabal of wealthy American businessmen conspired to overthrow President Franklin D. Roosevelt by duping a retired general – popular among veterans – into being their figurehead.
Amsterdam shifts from 1933 to 1918 as it fills out backstories and love affairs. After returning to the USA, Berendsen has become a kindly doctor and Woodman becomes a lawyer, both helping fellow vets. Valerie Voze is strung out on prescription drugs, a Dadaist artist who uses shrapnel to make sculptures and who is eventually kept at home with various ‘nervous complaints’.
It’s a film where no one seems to answer a direct question, gruesome autopsies are performed on camera, followed by whimsically sung ditties, unusual cultural references in art and profound comments in the script like: people follow the wrong God home.
“This is so strange,” says the good doctor Berendsen at one point. “What does it mean?”
As the dizzying list of celebrities and A-list actors continues to make an entertaining appearance in Amsterdam – even with an exciting opening and conclusion – and so many fantastical elements and narrative diversions appear, the viewer will probably echo that last question.
With music by Daniel Pemberton [See How They Run (2022)], Taylor Swift sings at one point during her cameo role.
Images courtesy of: 20th Century Studios