This is the worst movie of the year


The new film “Amsterdam” remained secret for months. We now know why – it’s unassailable.

Several times during Wednesday night’s press screening of David O. Russell’s Colossal Clunker, I considered walking out. A major critic rose from his chair after 45 minutes, never to return. Meet the luckiest man in the world!

But no, I stayed for the drama which was as emotionally unnerving as it was surprisingly tedious and impossible to follow. It’s weird, because the movie, on paper, seems like a recipe for greatness.

Film critic

Zero stars. Duration: 134 minutes. Rated R (brief violence and bloody images). In theaters October 7.

Its director and screenwriter, Russell (“Silver Linings Playbook,” “The Fighter,” “American Hustle”), is a typically gifted storyteller. And he’s put together a formidable list of A-list stars: Christian Bale, Margot Robbie, John David Washington, Rami Malek, Robert De Niro, Chris Rock, Anya Taylor-Joy. . . Taylor Swift! The intriguing plot concerns a piece of American history that should be fascinating and little known about a foiled coup to overthrow the government and install a fascist dictator. Cared for.

“Amsterdam” has every conceivable advantage. No matter. It’s the worst movie of the year so far, and I’ll bow to whatever comes up and top it off.

Christian Bale (left to right), Margot Robbie and John David Washington star in ‘Amsterdam’, the worst movie of the year.
Merie Weismiller Wallace; SMPSP

The floperoo begins in 1933 New York, where Burt (Bale), a World War I veteran, works as a doctor to help mend soldiers injured in battle. His best mate from the 369th Infantry Regiment, Harold (Washington), is a lawyer, and the two are summoned, film noir style, by Liz (Swift, who will have a hard time getting rid of this one) to give his politician father deceased a graphic autopsy. (Zoe Saldana has a thankless role as a nurse playing with intestines.) Liz wants to get to the bottom of her mysterious death.

Then, Burt and Harold get caught up in another murder investigation, and we’re transported back to 1918 France, where a bizarre nurse named Valerie (Margot Robbie), who recovers bullets and shrapnel, helps the boys to get well. The trio befriend and fly to Amsterdam; Valerie and Harold start canoodle, and everyone dances and paints vaguely.

All the while, we grasp Russell’s disturbing directorial identity crisis. By making a decades-long tale of battlefields, history and prosthetics, it channels Robert Zemeckis. Wrong. And enlisting a Vanity Fair Oscar party of celebrities to play dry eccentrics in a washed-out color palette, he’s trying to be Wes Anderson. Bad, again. His boring smugness is strongly reminiscent of Adam McKay’s “The Big Short” and “Vice.”

Rami Malek and Anya Taylor-Joy make no impression as wealthy Vozes.
Rami Malek (left) and Anya Taylor-Joy (center) fail to impress as wealthy Vozes.
Courtesy of 20th Century Studios

Everything Russell is so admired for is missing. Where is the independent heart of “Playbook”? The rawness of “The Fighter”? The sensuality and fun of “American Hustle”? Beat me. The only quality you find in “Amsterdam” is incompetence.

The story doesn’t get any easier to follow when we return to the 1930s and meet CIA and MI-5 agents (Michael Shannon and Mike Myers), who have high-profile jobs as salesmen with glass eyes and a passion for taxidermy birds, or after the rich Vozes arrive, played by Malek and Taylor-Joy, who are strange, powerful, sinister and boring.

De Niro is then introduced as a general whom Burt wants to give a speech at his upcoming veterans gala in Manhattan, while other forces want him to help rise up against the US government.

The plot wanders between 1918 and 1933.
The plot wanders between 1918 and 1933.
Merie Weismiller Wallace, SMPSP

Rock plays another vet named Milton who occasionally makes lofty admonitions against racism in his usual stand-up cadence. Everyone on screen is telling jokes; no one in the theater makes fun of them. We’re too busy trying to figure out what’s going on.

Suffice it to say, the world’s most powerful Swiffer couldn’t clean up this mess — nor could Swift, who isn’t an actress.

Many of the actors she appears with, on the other hand, are generally excellent but present themselves here as amateurs. Bale yuks, while Washington backs off. Malek and Taylor-Joy can’t resist their addiction to behaving like Martians, and Robbie gives us Harley Quinn-lite. De Niro is not terrible – simply present.

Really, there’s nothing the cast can do with the hack-job script Russell wrote and the inform tone he suddenly prefers. Everyone speaks with detachment, as if reading cue cards. The general attitude of non-commitment was to be an instruction. “More bland! More bland! Russell shouted.

Seven years have passed since the director’s last film, “Joy”. Here’s hoping that when the next one arrives, it’ll rediscover the joy, humor, tension, structure, character development, dialogue, and . . .


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