Review: ‘Amsterdam’ is a runaway train

Written by on 18th October 2022

David O. Russell’s latest foray into 30s noir has fallen spectacularly short, leaving this reviewer unfulfilled and confused.

Murder mystery Amsterdam follows the characters of kooky doctor Burt Berendsen (Christian Bale) and credited lawyer Harold Woodman (John David Washington) as they seek to clear their name for the murder of Liz Meekins (Taylor Swift).

However, this soon becomes complicated as it is revealed the murder was a targeted attack against the Meekins family, with Bale and Washington teaming up to uncover this mystery and keep themselves out of prison.

Following alongside the pair is Valerie Voze (Margot Robbie), an old friend and wartime nurse who accompanies the pair in their efforts to remain as free men.

But, what could have been a satisfying quest for freedom becomes entangled in half developed and unsatisfying sub-plots.

There’s the failing marriage of Bale’s protagonist Burt, the neglectful medication of Margot Robbie’s Valerie, a secret committee striving for Aryan world order and a veteran gala that leaves the audience feeling like they have no idea where the story is going.

Sometimes it feels like a runaway train, with each character reminding the audience what we are supposed to be focusing on. Whether it’s the stress and worry of the gala, the fact that there’s a secret committee about to take over the world or that Robbie’s character has vertigo.

What is undeniably a delicious aesthetic adventure is completely overshadowed by the burden of bad writing.

Despite all actors delivering convincing performances the film suffers with awful jokes that just don’t land to an audience too exhausted to keep up with whatever plot they are meant to be focusing on.

Whilst Russell creates a deep, meandering tale of redemption, it is so hard to enjoy it due to the fact that it is all over the place.

Bale’s character states frequently throughout the tale that he hopes he ‘follow(ed) the right god home’. In the case of Amsterdam, prayers aren’t enough to redeem this disappointing trip.

                          Amsterdam | Official Trailer | 20th Century Studios           

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