The Many Faces of Amsterdam

With a trailer friendly ensemble cast, the new action-comedy Amsterdam’s main attraction is its good looks and recognizable faces. Beyond that, David O. Russell’s (American HustleSilver Linings Playbook) new film is kind of like a moralizing version of the great political thriller The Parallax View with the quips of Bullet Train. For the majority of the Hassle’s audience, I suspect that sounds like an ill-advised way to spend an evening. 

Based on the real events of The White House Putsch or the Business Plot, a political conspiracy that likely escaped your high school history class, the story focuses on the trio of Burt (Christian Bale), Harold (John David Washington), and Valerie (Margot Robbie), who meet in a military hospital in Amsterdam during the Great War. Burt, a half-Catholic and half-Jewish officer, is sent to lead the 369th New York Regiment, the largely Black regiment forced to wear French uniforms because the white American soldiers were too racist to be seen with them. His main qualification for the post was not being racist. 

I’m not sure if the war ended or if they go AWOL, but the three of them become best friends, make secret pacts, and sing mad-lib “non-sense” songs as they run off to the Netherlands. Harold and Valerie supposedly fall in love, though their chemistry is so unbelievable that we need a narrator to opine about their unbreakable bond to believe it. The awkward friendship comes to an end when third-wheel Burt returns to the States. Years later, Harold has also returned and Valerie has ghosted both of them for some 12 years. Until, to their surprise, they all three somehow end up intertwined as the prime suspects in the murder of General Bill Meekins. 

Continue reading at Boston Hassle.

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