Arts & Entertainment

Amsterdam film faces tough task of delivering amid high expectations

By Guillermo Azábal

Los Angeles, USA, Oct 6 (EFE).- American filmmaker David O. Russell’s new film Amsterdam, featuring A-list actors such as Christian Bale, Margot Robbie, John David Washington and Robert de Niro, has generated high expectations from the public ahead of its release on Friday.

But the burden of having one of the most star-studded casts of recent times has weighed on the film even before it hits theaters amid a barrage of criticism from critics who are deeply dissatisfied with the final result of one of 20th Century Studios’ most eagerly awaited productions for 2022.

Amsterdam tells the story of war veteran doctors Burt Berendsen (played by Christian Bale), his partner Harold (John David Washington) and nurse Valerie (Margot Robbie). The three friends met during WWI and 15 years later become entangled in a murder mystery.

The film is named after the Dutch city where Burt, Harold and Valerie lived together in the post-war period, exploring their feelings and desires.

“It is sort of everything thrown in because David and I put this together over years and tears and we just loved the personalities of the three main characters,” Bale tells Efe in an interview ahead of the release of the film.

“The essence of the film is all about this triangle of friendship, this loyalty, this pact that the three make to always look out for each other and everything stems from that,” he says, adding that they worked to create characters “who we wanted to be friends with”.

The film tells the story of the Business Plot, a political conspiracy of wealthy businessmen who planned to overthrow President Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1933.

But for film critics, the convoluted plot, heavy use of flashbacks and introduction of new characters is nothing compared to the confusing mix of fiction and reality in Amsterdam.

The film opens with the claim that much of the events depicted actually happened in real life, but it gives way to a narrative in which it is difficult to discern which fragments come from the fantasy and fiction told by the filmmaker and which are historically accurate.

“We took (…) fictional characters, our creations, inspired by real characters, but we took these fictions and then we placed them in a very unknown factual event that happened in American history,” Bale explains.

The British actor says that making the film was a big “eye opener” and believes it will be the same for many viewers of the film.

“David invited me in literally when he just had a notepad and some interesting historical facts, (…) so it wasn’t like he gave me a script, I saw him put the whole thing together,” Bale adds.

The film’s release at the box office this weekend will serve as a test as to whether or not generating such high expectations ahead of a premiere means hitting a hurdle that can be impossible to overcome. EFE


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