Reviewed by: Pamela Karpelenia
Three friends—a doctor, a nurse, and a lawyer become the prime suspects in a murder
Fascist plot to overthrow the US government
World War I
What is the Biblical perspective on war? Answer
War in the Bible
ORIGIN OF ETHNIC PEOPLE GROUPS—How could all ethnicities come from Noah, his three sons and their wives? Answer
Christian Bale … Burt Berendsen
Margot Robbie … Valerie Voze
John David Washington … Harold Woodman
Alessandro Nivola … Detective Hiltz
Andrea Riseborough … Beatrice Vandenheuvel
Anya Taylor-Joy … Libby Voze
Chris Rock … Milton King
Matthias Schoenaerts … Detective Lem Getwiller
Michael Shannon … Henry Norcross
Mike Myers … Paul Canterbury
Taylor Swift … Liz Meekins
Timothy Olyphant … Taron Milfax
Zoe Saldana … Irma St. Clair
Rami Malek … Tom Voze
Robert De Niro … General Gil Dillenbeck
Ed Begley Jr. … General Bill Meekins
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|Director||David O. Russell|
20th Century Studios
Canterbury Classic [Japan]
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|Distributor||20th Century Studios, a subsidiary of The Walt Disney Studios, a division of The Walt Disney Company|
“Amsterdam” is a completely fictionalized retelling of the Business Plot, a 1930s political conspiracy. Starring Christian Bale and Margot Robbie, John David Washington and other A-List actors. The films opens with narration by Burt Berendsen (Christian Bale), a man who was injured in war and now works as a doctor rebuilding veterans from the inside (music and experimental drugs) and out (prosthetics). We soon get a glimpse into his past when a fellow veteran and dear friend (Washington) asks for a favor. Little does he know that this favor will have him wrapped up in a massive conspiracy!
Let’s start with the acting, it’s truly a mixed bag Margot Robbie shines and Bale are believable, although at times over the top. However, Washington is just lousy—a stiff, monotonous bore. He brings down every scene he is in. Despite better acting surrounding him, he doesn’t measure up, and the film suffers. Similar can be said of Taylor Swift who plays Liz Meekins, daughter of U.S. Senator Bill Meekins (Ed Begley Jr.). However, some of the other actors are fitting (Zoe Saldana, Robert De Niro, and Rami Malek).
Acting aside, the film with its direction and plot comes across as pretentious and deliberately disjointed in order to appear quirky and Oscar-worthy. It almost attempts to mimic Wes Anderson’s style (“The Grand Budapest Hotel”), but simply falls short.
Now to the objectionable content. The film deals with war (blood, guts, and gore), alcohol, drug use and abuse, language/blasphemy, and racism surrounding the 1930s. The later is handled poorly via a Chris Rock stand-up bit.
In addition to all objections above, the film glorifies premarital relations with a type of free love theme which wasn’t really popularized until the 1960s. Again, this is a fictionalized retelling.
The story is about finding the truth, no matter the obstacles. Life’s trials lead us to distraction and seeking after other means to get through.
As for a recommendation, it’s a no from me. All the star power in the world couldn’t free the story or the viewer from its incohesive plot—especially with the objectionable content mentioned earlier. It’s a resounding no.
See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.