Amsterdam Features A Great Cast And Premise But Is Hindered By Slow Pacing

With a star-laden cast and acclaimed Director David O. Russell at the helm, the new film “Amsterdam” arrives and touts a story mostly based on real events.

Following injuries they sustained serving in WWI, Dr. Burt Berendsen (Christian Bale) and Harold Woodman (John David Washington) return to New York to find a world where Veterans are not as welcome as they thought and racial division remains for Harold despite fighting for his country.

Burt having lost an eye in the war finds that his uptown In-Laws and wife shipped him to the war to get him out of the way as his mixed Catholic and Jewish heritage is not ideal for their version of society nor is his insistence on helping Vets at his practice over the cream of society.

When a wealthy socialite Liz Meekins (Taylor Swift) hires Harold to investigate what she believes is the murder of her prominent father, Burt is asked for his medical verification. When an unexpected event arises, Burt and Harold find themselves the leading suspects and must seek to find a way to clear their names from an ever-deepening mystery, one that brings them back into the circle of a former associate who treated them during the war named Valerie (Margot Robbie). The fact that Harold and Valerie had a relationship in Amsterdam following the war and that Burt was the adored friend of both further complicates the matter.

With complications mounting, the three must find a way to solve the mystery and save the day before the end of either dead or being charged for crimes they are innocent of with an ever-growing cast of characters and suspects for them to contend with.

The visuals of the film are solid as they capture the look and sounds of New York in the 1930s and the cast and costumes also lead to a fantastic level of immersion. Bale is so good as his character as it is hard to believe it is him as he transforms himself completely into a new being with a distinctive look, sound, and mannerisms which underscores how he is one of the most gifted and versatile actors ever.

The entire cast is very good from the leads to the supporting players but what hampers the film from truly achieving is that it is very slow and at times self-indulgent in the pacing and story.

There is an interesting premise, great cast, great performances, and solid visuals, but the film drags on without any regard to pacing, dramatic tension, or real surprises which in the end makes watching it a long task without the payoff one would expect, especially for the time the audiences has invested.

In the end, the film delivers entertainment and great performances but lacks the pacing and payoff to make the trip fully worthwhile.

3.5 stars out of 5.