6/10 After a seven year hiatus, writer/director David O. Russell (“The Fighter”, “American Hustle”) returns with a movie that is actually decent until the last 20 minutes completely derail everything that came before, resulting in the worst ending to a solid movie since “First Reformed” back in 2017. Another problem with “Amsterdam” is that despite the “A lot of this actually happened” text on the screen (he used this same line in the start of “American Hustle”), this story is very loosely based upon “The Business Plot”, which involved a Marine I grew to idolize during my own time in the Corps, General Smedley Butler (a fictional version of him is played by Robert De Niro here). Our main three protagonists are completely manufactured, as well as an assassination attempt. 5% of the movie is factual and the other 95% is just fictional. Before I come full circle with the movie’s biggest problems, I will give credit where credit is due. While a couple actors are miscast (Robert De Niro and Taylor Swift), the ones who are not give fantastic performances. Christian Bale continues to be one of the best actors working today and John David Washington and Margot Robbie have fantastic chemistry while also providing us with strong performances. Even several supporting actors make the most of their limited screen time. The cinematography from three time Oscar winner Emmanuel Lubezki is wonderful and the score from Daniel Pemberton is subtle yet perfect for the movie. The production design and costume design expertly recreate the 1930s time period across Europe and America. So the movie is technically well made, had some terrific performances, solid pacing and is entertaining…so then what makes it fall apart right at the finish line? The last 20 minutes feels like a completely different movie from everything that happened beforehand. One moment that I believe was meant to be comical has Nazis on one side shouting in German and then we get a quick pan to the other side of the room with veterans singing patriotically back at them. It is such a weird and cartoonish moment that feels like a scene from a Wes Anderson film and it takes from the realism that had been built up. To make matters worse, we get the cheesiest voiceover of 2022 about how love is the answer and how we must stop hatred and learn to love each other and blah blah blah. Not only is the message devoid of all subtlety and nuance but it is incredibly cheesy, basic and worst of all is who it is coming from. Writer/director Russell has a long history of on set abuse with his cast and crew that has been well documented over the years. From making Amy Adams cry for months at a time to having a temper tantrum and calling Lily Tomlin a “cunt” and a “fucking bitch” on the set of “I Heart Huckabees” to a sexual assault allegation that Russell blamed on the accused for “acting provocatively”, Russell is what you might call a piece of garbage human being who has never been held accountable for his actions and by all accounts should be kicked out of Hollywood for his despicable behavior. Him preaching about love and forgiveness is about as meaningful as if Harvey Weinstein made a documentary about stopping sexual predators. It’s why I also think De Niro was miscast because he is supposed to play this decent, moral, loving guy who is above reproach as in real life he is demonizing half of the country as Nazis who should be punched for not voting the way he votes. Horrible people often project their wickedness onto others to distract from their own and Russell’s messaging of love (along with De Niro’s milder but still noticeable hypocrisy) couldn’t ring hollower if they tried. While the ending would still be ridiculous coming from a different writer/director, it does completely derail a movie that I had overall been enjoying up until the final moments. The movie has bombed with critics and is going to lose Disney $100 million, which due to it being Disney and coming from Russell, I am actually happy for that end result.

#AmsterdamYouDavid / #AmsterhammingItUp / #ReichAndSubscribe / #OnceUponATimeInAmsterdam / #TaylorSwiftlyExits / #NoneOfOurBusinessPlot

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