For months, “Amsterdam,” a brand-new film, has been cloaked in mystery. We now understand why: it’s unbearable.
I thought about leaving many times during the press screening of David O. Russell’s enormous snoozer on Wednesday night. After 45 minutes, one significant critic got up from his seat and left the room. Meet the world’s luckiest man!
But instead, I stayed to see the drama, which was as emotionally confusing as it was incredibly boring and difficult to understand. That’s strange because the movie seems like it has all the makings of a classic on paper.
Russell (“Silver Linings Playbook,” “The Fighter,” “American Hustle”), the film’s director and writer, is a seasoned storyteller. And he put together a strong cast of A-list celebrities, including Taylor Swift, Christian Bale, Margot Robbie, John David Washington, Rami Malek, Robert De Niro, Chris Rock, and Anya Taylor-Joy. A botched attempt to topple the government and establish a fascist dictator is the subject of the interesting narrative, which centres on a little-known but important episode in American history. Neat.
“Amsterdam” offers every possible benefit. Nothing matters. It’s the worst movie of the year so far, and I’ll submit to anything that surpasses it.
The story of the floperoo is set in 1933 New York City, where Burt (Bale), a veteran of World War I, works as a doctor treating men who have been wounded in war. Harold (Washington), his closest friend from the 369th Infantry Regiment, is a lawyer, and both are asked, film-noir style, by Liz (Swift, who will have a hard time shaking this one off), to perform a brutal autopsy on her deceased political father. (Zoe Saldana plays an unappreciated nurse who messes about with intestines.) Liz is interested in learning more about his enigmatic passing.
We are then transported back to 1918 France where a strange nurse named Valerie (Margot Robbie), who collects bullets and shrapnel, is assisting a separate murder inquiry.