The quickest way to sum up Amsterdam — a very not-quick movie at 134 minutes long — is to reference all of the very familiar elements it decided to mash together willy-nilly.
These are as follows:
- The unnecessarily convoluted plot of an unnecessarily convoluted film noir
- Cartoonish conspiratorial vibes, reminiscent of the Coen Brothers
- The flawed characters and angular camera shots that are a hallmark of Wes Anderson
- The fast pace of a modern caper (like The Brothers Bloom, say)
- The appearance of Another Beloved Famous Actor at every twist and turn that, one gets the feeling, is supposed to make the audience gasp or clap or something
It’s … a lot.
Without giving too much away, the arc of Amsterdam goes a little something like this. Burt (Christian Bale) and Harold (John David Washington) are injured while fighting in World War I. When they go to the hospital, a kooky, pipe-smoking nurse named Valerie (Margot Robbie) tends to them. The three become fast friends, spend a glorious time together in Amsterdam after the war, then (ill-advisedly) go their separate ways.