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‘Amsterdam’ (Digital 4K UHD review)

There is so much promise in the lead up to this film, including the star-studded cast, rich cinematography, and having David O. Russell at the helm.

How unfortunate that he has fallen a bit too in love with his own world-building, and has failed to edit his melodramatic mammoth into something coherent and enjoyable for the rest of the people watching.

Both slow and action-forward, Amsterdam does not know what it wants to be soon enough for the audience to care.

Burt Berendsen (Christian Bale) is a doctor and veteran with a prosthetic eye who is friends with Harold Woodsman (a rather flat John David Washington), a Black lawyer and fellow veteran who misses the freedom and agency he had overseas.

Along with a certain wartime nurse named Valerie (played by Margot Robbie). The friends become wrapped up in a deeply confusing plot around the murder of their former commanding officer.

The notable stars never cease (particular curiosity: Mike Myers!) but they are also given very little to work with. The performances are breaths of joy but do little to provide more buy-in for the audience.

In contrast, Russell gives the main cast too much to cover to any level that engages the audience, leaving a confusing but still over-explained plot dragging around the necks of amazing actors trying their best. The set design, costumes, and style are all grand and richly done, but no amount of accessories can hide a bad script.

Extras include a featurette and trailers.

The ending is full of parallels to today’s concerns and political climate, as expected. This point is beat into the viewer’s head so many times it may as well come out the other side.

While Amsterdam is full of cinematic elements that should add up to a great film, a convoluted plot that takes too long to tease out overshadows the excellent performers and set dressing of this decadent but dull movie.

 

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