The Reel Review


Three friends dating back to World War I go on the run when falsely accused of a murder, in this 1930s-era crime mystery starring Christian Bale, Margot Robbie and John David Washington. While trying to bring the actual killer to justice, they uncover a sinister right-wing plot to overthrow the government. Amsterdam is based on a true story.

John David Washington, Christian Bale and Margot Robbie in Amsterdam.

What in the Hell is going on here? That is the question you’ll be asking yourself throughout much of this bloated, more than two-hour-long film – particularly in its first half. Even with an all-star cast including Robert De Niro, Anya Taylor-Joy, Rami Malek, Michael Shannon, Mike Myers, Chris Rock, Andrea Riseborough and a very stiff Taylor Swift, writer/director David O. Russell’s historical dramedy is little more than a series of pointless, overlong vignettes. This is not the Oscar-nominated Russell of Silver Linings Playbook, American Hustle, or The Fighter – or even 2015’s Joyhis most recent prior film. This is a tedious mess.

John David Washington, Margot Robbie, Rami Malek and Anya Taylor-Joy in Amsterdam

The only real upside of this epically dull film is the sepia-toned visuals, excellent costuming and set design that capture the era. Beyond that, Amsterdam and its well-intended cautionary tale about the dangers of capitalist-fueled authoritarianism is a self-indulgent waste of time.


Amsterdam was inspired by the Business Plot, a 1933 political conspiracy in which wealthy American businessmen and bankers plotted a military coup d’état to overthrow President Franklin D. Roosevelt and replace him with a fascist veterans’ organization headed by U.S. Marine Corps Major General Smedley Butler. None of them was ever prosecuted.

• John David Washington replaced Michael B. Jordan in the film after the COVID-19 pandemic caused a year long delay in filming.

Amsterdam was a box office bomb, losing Disney nearly $100 million.


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