This is a movie of two halves …well sorta blended halves. It’s a bit of a rollercoaster and if my review reads like a mashup, that’s because it smooshed my head.
Amsterdam is chocka with names, big names. Christian Bale teeters at the edge of over-the-top but props to how different he looks in flashback v contemporary; gives me hope about Zoom and me. Margot Robbie ok now I don’t feel so good about Zoom; she’s so beautifully filmed that I can’t remember what I thought of her acting. Rami Malek is one great villain. Robert de Niro can outact anyone so he throws a lotta shade. Chris Rock, Mike Myers – okay I gotta stop. So many name actors, so little time.
Central to the Amsterdam theme is love? Patriotism? Big business? Eugenics? Race? So many issues swooshed by. It was difficult not to think that it’s a not-so-thinly veiled swipe at say a very wealthy man in the USA who wants to run country like a um, not dictator, but an emperor and gathers a band of yes-men to promote his evil designs.
Trying to jam so many ideas sent the writer (and director) David O. Russell into a script dilemma. His solution: provide philosophical moments for the audience in the ole Shakespearean way: with a monologue disguised as a conversation. So, the movie is both deep and a bit shallow–I barely had time to grasp the import of one deep and meaningful before the plot roared back into life.
Don’t get me wrong, it’s not that the movie is impenetrable, it’s just that I’m a little slow on the weekends.
Now don’t be fooled by the promise of comedy, that’s pretty thin on the ground – though look out for Mike Myer’s joke about extinct birds. It’s more a buddy-plus-one film in which the band gets together to solve a crime that, in turn, leads to uncovering a political plot.
Costuming is fabulous for the women: Margot Robbie’s 1930s goth vibe, I’m buying and I need more hats in my life. Anya Taylor-Joy’s red ensembles are to die for. And John David Washington always looks dapper. Christian – you drew the short straw.
Most of the film is set … nope not in Amsterdam but in a slushy NYC. The cityscape isn’t pretty, but (some) the interiors are pretty fab: rather golden-y velvet-y 1930s post-deco looking.
There’s much to enjoy in Amsterdam and you’ll probably guess the ending. But see it for two-and-a-bit hours of hi-jinx and deep pondering.
2 hours 14 minutes
Drama / Comedy
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