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AMSTERDAM (2022, USA) – 7.5/10

The renowned American filmmaker David O. Russell has made his most ambitious film to date, a humorous thriller based on true events from the 1930s and three friends who accidentally uncover one of the biggest conspiracies in American history. Admittedly, it can be assumed that the Business Plot or Wall Street Putsch, as the case is called in 1933, when a few rich American industrialists planned to carry out a coup d’état and replace the elected president Franklin Roosevelt with a dictator modeled on Italy and Germany, certainly looked significantly different but in “Amsterdam”. It is a film that Russell filled with well-known actors, and there are practically no extras whose faces are unknown to the average moviegoer, and the author’s intention was obviously to somehow connect that story from 90 years ago with today’s time and the current moment, and to draw parallels as sometimes it is little necessary to dictatorship replaces democracy.

And in that part, “Amsterdam” didn’t quite work to the end, but it’s still an interesting and intriguing political thriller – a comedy that in terms of structure and style is somewhat reminiscent of his better “American Hustle”. Fifteen years after the end of World War I, doctor Burt Berendsen (Christian Bale) runs a clinic in New York that mainly treats war veterans. Burt himself suffered a serious injury in the trenches of France because not only did he leave one eye there, but his spine was also damaged and he had to wear a painful brace, and his whole body was carved with scars.

His wartime comrade and best friend, the black man Harold (John David Washington) is now a lawyer, and he will ask Burt to perform an autopsy on the body of the senator and their former commander from the war, Bill Meekins, who died under suspicious circumstances. When the autopsy does indeed show that the old general was poisoned, Burt and Harold will realize that they have gotten involved in a dangerous situation because they will immediately be accused of murdering Meekins’ daughter, and soon we will realize that the whole story leads to Amsterdam fifteen years earlier where they are for some time lived after the end of the war.

There they hung out with the young nurse Valerie (Margot Robbie), who was also the love of Harold’s life, but both of them had to return to their lives in America after some time enjoying themselves in the Dutch capital. And while in Amsterdam life looked like from a fairy tale and no one there, among other things, was bothered by the relationship between a black man and a white woman, the reality in America is much harsher. The consequences of the financial crisis are still felt, society is still segregated, people are increasingly dissatisfied, military veterans are angry because they feel forgotten and betrayed, and some clearly want to take advantage of this situation, overthrow the government and turn the USA into a dictatorship modeled after Hitler’s Germany or Mussolini’s Italy.

It will turn out that the mysterious Valerie is not at all the person that Burt and Harold thought she was in Amsterdam, and while they will have to prove that they are not murderers, they will realize that they are involved in something very dangerous and that they are the only hope for saving America democracy. And there are remarks that Russell decided to include several of them in one film – a wacky and twisted comedy, a crime story, a romantic drama about love and friendship and the racial and class relations of the time, as well as a political thriller, but also a historical drama about that critical period when not much lacked for fascism to be accepted in many countries outside of Germany and Italy.

The story here is extremely complex and complicated, and Russell barely managed to get out of those huge complications and finish it so that it makes sense, but again it seems very packed and crammed, so it’s not surprising that it was very difficult to make a two-hour film out of so much material. This is certainly one of the reasons why “Amsterdam” did not fare well with critics like his previous films, and considering the complexity of the plot and story and political engagement, it should not be surprising that it was a fiasco at the box office. All the same, it was an exciting and intriguing film in which Robert De Niro, Alessandro Nivola, Chris Rock, Andrea Riseborough, Anya Taylor-Joy, Matthias Schoenaerts, Michael Shannon, Mike Myers, Taylor Swift, Zoe Saldana and Rami also appear. Malek.