AMSTERDAM Review — A Quirky, Convoluted, Comedic Thriller

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Lisa Johnson Mandell’s Amsterdam review says you should come for the cast, stay for the intriguing, although convoluted, story and message.

Amsterdam reviewHalf of this review could be taken up just by mentioning the A-List actors, most giving performances that are refreshingly unlike anything we’ve seen from them before.  Their numbers are great and mighty.

Let’s start with Christian Bale and John David Washington playing two wounded soldiers at the end of WWI, and Margot Robbie as the nurse (spy?) who befriends them.

Reluctant to return to the states, when the war is over, they remain in Amsterdam, cavorting with the likes of a couple of urbane birdwatchers (spies?) played by Michael Shannon and Mike Myers. They live an idyllic bohemian lush life until duty and circumstance call them back to the US.

Several years later the two vets are approached by an heiress (Taylor Swift) whose father has passed under questionable circumstances. She wants them, one a doctor (Bale), one a lawyer (Washington) to help her investigate.

And we’re off to the races, although the races are a bit halting at times. Oddball characters played by Rami Malek, Anya Taylor Joy, Zoe Saldana, Chris Rock, Robert De Niro, Timothy Olyphant and my dear former neighbor Beth Grant engage strategically like pieces on a chess board.

Almost all have unclear motives involving a strange plot to overthrow the the US government, using angry WWI veterans who have been left without benefits. The intrigue comes in trying to distinguish the good guys from the bad.

And get this—it’s all loosely based on a true story most of us have never heard before.

It seems director/writer/producer David O Russell let his avid  imagination run wild with it, and while it meanders a bit, I found it fascinating and delightful, harkening back more to I Heart Huckabees than Russell’s more recent projects like American Hustle and Silver Linings Playbook.

The art direction, hair, makeup, costumes and score are divine and fittingly quirky like the rest of the film.

While in some ways Amsterdam is a good old fashioned who-done-it, there are more profound overarching themes, including friendship, race relations and true love.

A cast like that and true love? I’m in!

Rated R

2 Hours 14 Minutes

If this review encourages you to run out to your local cineplex, get times and tickets at

Lisa Johnson Mandell’s Amsterdam review says you could come for the cast, stay for the intriguing, although convoluted story and message.

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Lisa Johnson Mandell

Lisa Johnson Mandell is an award winning journalist, author and film/TV critic. She can be heard regularly on Cumulus radio stations throughout the US, and seen on Rotten Tomatoes. She recently founded the new lifestyle website, where celebrities and experts share their 5 favorite things in the fields of entertainment, lifestyle, wellness, home and food & drink.

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