An Afternoon at Amsterdam


Madison Shields

The comedy-drama, “Amsterdam”, directed by Oscar-nominated David O. Russell was released on Oct. 7, 2022. The story follows along three friends who find themselves the primary suspects of a murder, and have to find a way to clear their name while uncovering a worldwide scandal. Although the movie features an excellent, all-star cast with beautiful visuals to coincide, I felt that the movie was very predictable with lackluster writing that didn’t favor its extensive runtime. (Movie poster courtesy of 20th Century Studios)

Anthony Luparello, Reporter

After another busy day of schoolwork and reporting, my friends and I decided to celebrate the week by going out to get sushi and watching the newest movie in theaters, “Amsterdam.” Considering the large-scale cast featuring Christian Bale, Margot Robbie, John David Washington, Taylor Swift and Robert De Niro, it was an undeniably easy pick for us to watch. Unfortunately, the film didn’t meet my personal expectations, although there were still some moments that made the movie worth its while.   

Directed by the Award-winning David O. Russell, the movie highlights three best friends who become the number one suspects of a murder and have to prove their innocence while uncovering secrets surrounding a world dominating plan in the process. The movie starts out by introducing the three leads, Bert, Valerie and Harold, played by Bale, Robbie and Washington respectively. It showcases to the audience how they all met each other during the first World War, in addition to how their friendship progressed over the next couple of years. I found this first act of the movie very engaging as it properly set up its characters, showed us their struggles, meanwhile also elaborating on how these best friends ended up getting themselves into the middle of a murder mystery.  

However, as soon as the first act concluded, the entire movie began to feel very scattered and lost, with various plot elements such as the numerous amount of scenes that went on for way too long and the bland dialogue that caused the rest of the viewing experience to become very tedious to sit through at some parts. Although I wouldn’t say this movie was flat-out boring, I strongly believe that this movie suffered from serious pacing issues that caused it to feel like a quirky comedy in some parts, and a serious crime thriller in another, and it all felt tonally inconsistent. 

Getting halfway through the movie, the three leads have already met a wide range of characters to enlist their help in clearing their names, such as the laid-back medical examiner Irma St. Clair, played by Zoe Saldaña, and the goofy undercover spies Paul Canterbury and Henry Norcross, played by Mike Meyers and Michael Shannon. While I found it very mesmerizing to see all of these iconic actors performing on screen together, the screenplay they were given felt so monotonous and repetitive. For instance, as the third act was approaching, I began to notice that in almost every scene a character would always mention in one way or another that “something big is happening,” or that “someone is in danger,” and the entire time I was just sitting there waiting for that something to happen. What “Amsterdam” needs to realize is that saying something doesn’t always guarantee it. 

In regards to the acting itself, it was fine. There were definitely no breakthrough performances, but there weren’t any noticeably bad performances either. It was simply a mix of talented performers with a really dull script, although I thought Robbie did an exceptional job as the outgoing Valerie Voze, who clearly committed to her character the most due to her wide range of acting choices, making her one of the more likable and memorable characters in this very forgettable movie, which is saying something considering the amount of celebrities in this cast. If this movie did anything right, it was definitely the casting. 

Near the apex of the movie, Bert, Valerie and Harold attempt to find out who’s behind the world-threatening plot, which was admittedly getting a little more entertaining due to all of the talk finally building up to something, but unfortunately, the ending didn’t really know what direction it wanted to go in and just became an entire convoluted mess by the time the credits were rolling. On top of all of that, the narrator, voiced by Bale, was basically explaining every detail of what was going on in the conclusion, to the point where he was flat out telling the audience the moral of the story, and it seriously felt as if I was watching a video game cutscene due to how one sided the monologue was, and it really tampered with the already incoherent tone of the movie. 

Overall, “Amsterdam” is far from the worst that I’ve seen, but I was left feeling a little unsatisfied due to the messy storyline and scenes that dragged on for way too long, all leading up to a very predictable outcome. There were some great parts of the movie though, such as the pleasing score done by Daniel Pemberton, the extravagant costumes designed by J.R. Hawbaker and Albert Wolsky, and the beautiful cinematography filmed by Emmanuel Lubezki. However, I wouldn’t recommend this film, as it doesn’t really know what it’s trying to be, and essentially wastes most of the talent it was given. 

I give “Amsterdam” a 5 out of 10.