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Opening Date
06 Oct 2022
NC16 Some Drug Use & Disturbing Scenes
134 mins
English - subtitles to be advised
Comedy, Drama
David O. Russell
Christian Bale, Margot Robbie, John David Washington, Chris Rock, Anya Taylor-Joy, Zoe Saldana, Rami Malek
Three close friends find themselves at the center of one of the most secret plots in American history.
By InCinemas  05 Oct 2022
A star-studded mismatched puzzle that works.
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Since the release of the less-than-favourable release of Joy (2015), write-director David O. Russell is back with his first film in 7 years–Amsterdam

Amsterdam is a film based on a true story–the Business Plot, a 1933 political conspiracy in the United States–but its title card is a fair warning of Hollywood’s dramatisation on real-life events. For viewers who aren’t familiar with the little-known American history, it is easier to get lost in Russell’s frenzied tale.

The period msytery comedy thriller follows a trio of friends—a doctor, a nurse, and a lawyer—who become prime suspects in the murder of fictionalised US Senator Bill Meekins in the 1930s. It stars an ensemble cast led by Christian Bale, Margot Robbie, and John David Washington, featuring Chris Rock, Anya Taylor-Joy, Zoe Saldaña, Mike Myers, Michael Shannon, Timothy Olyphant, Andrea Riseborough, Taylor Swift, Matthias Schoenaerts, Alessandro Nivola, Rami Malek, and Robert De Niro.

Russell’s crowded screenplay is at times messy when it tries hard to balance almost every genre imaginable…but it works. It’s sparsely convoluted and demands attention, relying on the performances of its star-studded cast to bring it all home.

Once again, Bale proves his worth as one third of the key leads–the one-eyed Dr. Burt Berendsen. The method actor who’s best known for his dramatic roles turns a page in his book of class acts to deliver what is possibly his funniest and zaniest role to date, setting and matching the tone of Russell’s quirky film. Robbie on the other hand taps into her Harley Quinn and contributes a performance that challenges her range. Washington doesn’t contribute as much as his scene partners but his stoic outlook balances their unhinged performances, forging a considerable chemistry for the trio.

Amsterdam should be grateful for the chemistry between its key leads but it deserves greater commendation for the use of its ensemble. The plot is kept fresh with every reveal of a character peppered throughout the film. Everyone seemed game for Russell’s unconventional screenplay (even the biggest name of all, despite looking like he only showed up to collect his paycheck). Taylor-Joy however, is a clear standout amongst her fellow supporting cast–playing the ostentatious wife Libby Voze to Malek’s Tom Voze–eating up every scene she’s in and making the best of it, knowing fair well the pressure of the film’s success doesn’t lie heavily on her shoulders alone. Mike Myers and Michael Shannon’s pair of undercover spies Paul Canterbury and Henry Norcross also light up the screen with their seamless chemistry and comedic timing, demonstrating that the film is only as good as it is bizarre.

Complimenting the feature is Academy Award winner Emmanuel Lubezki’s notable cinematography that highlights the intricately put together production and costume designs, setting the perfect tone for Russell’s unique piece of work. 

At times, Amsterdam suffers from an imbalance in style and substance, with the latter struggling to keep up with the former, but it all worked out in the end like a mismatched puzzle forced to take a shape of its own.
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Amsterdam Official Trailer

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