Kick Amsterdam in the Netherlands

The Stream: A convoluted story that loses focus of its main plot

The Big Screen: Great production values and a daffy Christian Bale performance

The Final Bill: Lots of movie star cameos almost distracts from the confusing screenplay.

– Trip Fontaine
Director: David O. Russell
Writers: David O. Russell
Stars: Christian Bale, Margot Robbie, John David Washington, Anya Taylor-Joy, Rami Malek, Robert De Niro
Genre: Comedy, Drama, Mystery
Rating: R for brief violence and bloody images.
Runtime: 2 hours 14 minutes
Production Companies: 20th Century Studios, Canterbury Classic, Forest Hill Entertainment, New Regency Productions
Platform: In theaters October 7, 2022
Notable Trailers: Avatar: The Way of Water, Triangle of Sadness, The Fabelmans, Till, Devotion

Hey, Streamers! I typically avoid horror movies at all times and especially in October. Therefore, there are slim pickins’ for your boy, Trip, at the box office these days. The major release in theaters this weekend was a new film by David O. Russell (Three Kings, Silver Linings Playbook) called Amsterdam. Big stars in 1930’s cosplay having a rollicking good time seemed to be up my alley. Here’s how it went.

Based or inspired by true events, Amsterdam follows three friends, Dr. Burt Berendsen (Bale), Harold Woodsman (Washington), and Valerie Voze (Robbie), who met in World War I, and pulled together by the murder of their dear friend and former general. As Burt and Harold attempt to solve the murder, they stumble for set piece to set piece uncovering a deeper mystery. Along the way, the trio encounters various personalities that add exposition to the plot or are potential suspect. Hijinks ensue and cameos abound.

Amsterdam starts with a bang and then it goes all over the place. There is good energy in the movie, especially in the beginning. David O. Russell can write pretty snappy dialogue and he’s hired a cast that is able to deliver the good. The problem is that the plot gets all convoluted and messy. If this story really is inspired by true events, then it would have been better to stay closer to the inspiration so a coherent story could be told. Nevertheless, the film looks great – costumes, production design and cinematography have that big budget Hollywood sheen. Christian Bale came to play and is giving his all. He’s made some interesting character choices that work for the most part and allow him to be charismatic and funny. Also, the film is at its best when Rami Malek and Anya Taylor-Joy join the mix. They are good on screen together and add an extra layer to the dynamic between the main trio of Bale, Washington and Robbie. However, even with those good points, the movie doesn’t amount to much and has been confusing for most of the 2+-hour runtime.

S2S: Official Rating Scale

Ultimately, Amsterdam is an okay movie. It starts with potentially an interesting murder mystery, but it goes off on weird tangents that just confuse the point of the movie. While the ensemble cast is mostly good, it leads the film to feel overstuffed and too complicated. Once you figure out the point, I’m not sure it feels entirely worthwhile. A bowl of popcorn is enough for a midday matinee of Amsterdam, I guess.