Director: David O. Russell
Writer: David O. Russell
Starring: Christian Bale, Margot Robbie, John David Washington, Chris Rock, Anya Taylor-Joy, Zoe Saldaña, Mike Myers, Michael Shannon, Timothy Olyphant, Andrea Riseborough, Taylor Swift, Matthias Schoenaerts, Alessandro NIvola, Rami Malek, and Robert De Niro
David O’ Russell’s latest film is turning out to be both a critical and a commercial disappointment. Despite it’s overwhelmingly brilliant cast, the reviews are mixed at best and worst of all not many people are going to see it. For a film that has a production budget of approximately $80 million, it’s turning out to be one of the bigger flops of recent years. Despite that, it’s still worth watching and has some fun moments, even if it’s just to learn about one of the more bizarre moments in modern history.
The story is inspired by the ‘Business Plot’, a real-life alleged conspiracy in America to remove the president and replace him with a dictator. To explore this strange point in modern history, writer and director David O. Russell focuses on a trio of friends who are bound together after making a pact shortly after the first World War. Around fifteen years later Burt (Christian Bale) and Harold (John David Washington) are hired to investigate the death of Bill Meekins (Ed Begley Jr.) and end up uncovering a conspiracy to overthrow the government.
This film boasts one of the best ensemble casts ever, and they’re all absolutely brilliant without a single weak link. The first half of the film is just being shocked by how many people are in it. Every scene is filled with very well-known faces, to the point that throughout the film you forget some of them are in it and get to be surprised all over again when they reappear later. Every performance is excellent, especially Christian Bale proving yet again that he’s one of the best actors of all time. Visually the film is amazing, with some incredible sets and costumes.
There’s a lot of really funny moments throughout the film, with a lot of offbeat and quirky jokes. It gets a little weird at points, for example the main trio singing a nonsense song is a plot point, but it manages to stay funny, even when there’s darker moments. There’s a couple of surprising moments, with a very shocking death, and an autopsy that’s a little grizzly. It has a very fast pace that’s kept up for the entire, two hours plus, run time. You’ll be able to tell almost straight away if this is a film for you, if the style doesn’t click in the first couple of minutes, then this isn’t for you. Even if it does click, it’s still a lot. It does start to veer into being weird just to be weird at points.
Amsterdam is let down by its excess. The plot is too wacky, the tone is too zany, there’s too many characters, and in the end it all becomes a little too messy. It’s honestly exhausting to watch, and while there’s definitely really great moments, overall, it has the same feeling as eating too much of a really rich chocolate cake.
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