Amsterdam (2022)

Despite its stellar cast made up of no fewer than five Oscar winners, three Oscar nominees, more than a handful of Emmy winners and nominees, and a crew stuffed with its fair share of industry recognition, Amsterdam is one of the biggest disappointments to come down the pike in quite some time – especially considering it is written and directed by a five-time(!) Oscar nominated filmmaker.

Though beautifully appointed with a stunning period production design that plops us right down in the middle of 1930’s New York City, writer/director David O. Russell misses on far too many critical aspects of this comedic thriller about love, loyalty, and the importance of learning to appreciate the joy of life. As the director of such applauded films as American Hustle, Silver Linings Playbook, and The Fighter, Russell's missteps with Amsterdam are as unexpected as they are shocking.

"becomes a jumbled mess of half-baked thoughts, wildly disparate tones, and poorly executed themes"

As the film opens, we meet Christian Bale’s Dr. Burt Berendsen, a WWI veteran an M.D. advocating for the war’s sick and wounded. Bale has tons of fun with his wacky, fright-wigged, one-eyed Dr. Berendsen who looks and feels like a character straight out of a Marx Brothers film. Okay, you have our attention.

His best friend is war buddy Harold (John David Washington, Tenet), who he met while serving in Amsterdam during the war. Their friendship was forged by the crucible of war, so the two vowed to always help one another, no matter what. Washington plays his Harold straight, which actually works nicely against Bale’s eccentric Dr. Berendsen. Harold’s girlfriend is the free-spirited Valerie (Margot Robbie) - the couple's mixed-race relationship eventually playing into one of the film’s themes of racial intolerance back in the States.

As the three head back to the States post war, Harold and Dr. Bernendsen are pinned for the gruesome murder of one of Harold’s new clients (Taylor Swift), which suddenly lurches the comedy-driven character piece into noir murder mystery territory. Then, the mystery aspect is thrown aside when Russell flashes back to a lengthy segment covering how Berendsen and Harold met on the battle field, became injured in war, and were tended to by Harold’s eventual girlfriend.

Now flash forward, back to the original setting of ‘30s New York as we find Harold and Dr. Berendsen spending much of the film attempting to distance themselves from the murder and the subsequent investigation by a pair of corrupt New York police detectives.Amsterdam (2022)

Meanwhile they’ve also become somehow involved with Valerie’s wealthy industrialist brother Tom (Rami Malek), his controlling wife, Libby (Anya Taylor-Joy, TV’s The Queen’s Gambit), and a WWI general (Robert DeNiro) in one overly-complicated plot loosely based on an actual failed fascist scheme to overthrow the American Government.

If it sounds like a bloated plot and too much jumping around, that’s because it is. What should go down as smoothly as a Wes Anderson or Coen Brothers film, instead becomes a jumbled mess of half-baked thoughts, wildly disparate tones, and poorly executed themes involving friendship and love… or something like that.

The film is well-acted by its ensemble cast including Mike Myers, Andrea Wiseborough, Chris Rock, Michael Shannon, Zoe Saldana, Alessandro Nivola and others, beautifully shot – in fact, worthy of catching in IMAX format – by legendary cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki, perfectly appointed by Judy Becker’s beautiful production design and J.R. Hawbaker’s period costume work. So, the problem isn’t with execution. Sadly and unexpectedly, the fault lies squarely with Russell who loses control of this monstrosity less than thirty minutes in. It’s all just a beautiful mess.

2/5 stars



Amsterdam (2022)

4k details divider

Ultimate Collector's Edition / 4K Ultra HD + Blu-ray + Digital HD

Home Video Distributor: Disney/Buena Vista/20 Century
Available on 4k UHD/Blu-ray
- December6, 2022
Screen Formats: 2.39:1
: English SDH, French, Spanish
English: Dolby Atmos; English: Dolby TrueHD 7.1; English: DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1; Spanish: Dolby Digital Plus 7.1; French: Dolby Digital 5.1
Discs: 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Disc; Two-disc set
Region Encoding: 4K region-free; blu-ray locked to Region A

Disney/20th Century Fox go straight to an Ultimate Collector's Edition 4K Ultra HD + Blu-ray + Digital set for its physical debut of David O. Russell's period comedy thriller Amsterdam, which hit theaters back in October.

While the film itself was a less than stellar offering from the five-time Oscar nominated filmmaker, 20th Century have clearly gone all in with what will probably be the first and last physical offering of the film.

Inside the slipcased package is a 4K and a blu-ray disc in addition to a coupon with a Movies Anywhere digital code.


This is beautifully shot film with stunning period production design that is showed off by the immaculate Native 4K finish which features a terrific HDR10 2.39:1 transfer. Absolutely the perfect format for what this film has to offer on the visual front.

Its noir look and feel don't particularly lend themselves to a bright and colorful presentation, but the 1930s New York City scenes leap off the screen in 4K. Every thread of the wonderfully appointed costumes stand out, as do the occasional pops of color that work nicely against the deeply saturated blacks and noir shadows.

Absolutely no issues or shortcomings with tis transfer. Gorgeous.


The 4k disc is appointed with an English language Dolby Atmos audio track, as well as a Dolby TrueHD 7.1, and a DTS-HD MA 7.1 track. For Spanish speakers, there is a Dolby Digital Plus 7.1 track and for French speakers a Dolby Digital 5.1 track.

The Dolby Atmos track is an excellent one and goes full immersion when the action gets going. Gun shots are particularly interesting as they are loud and emit from the room's highs and back appropriately. The dialogue is always clear and audible.


For a Collector's Edition, 20th Century clearly dropped the ball on the supplemental materials front. We get one extra. A 15-minute EPK-type piece which, packed with plenty of additional footage and interviews, feels like a let down as the sole extra on an Ultimate Collector's Edition.


  • None

Special Features:

  • Welcome to Amsterdam (HD; 15:30)


4k rating divider

  Movie 2/5 stars
  Video  5/5 stars
  Audio 4/5 stars
  Extras 1/5 stars

Composite Blu-ray Grade

3/5 stars

Film Details

Amsterdam (2022)

MPAA Rating: R for brief violence and bloody images..
134 mins
: David O. Russell
David O. Russell
Christian Bale; Margot Robbie; John David Washington
: Mystery | Drama
Let the love, murder, and conspiracy begin.
Memorable Movie Quote: "I had no idea how small time I was until I met you."
Theatrical Distributor:
20th Century Studios
Official Site:
Release Date:
October 7, 2022
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date:
December 6, 2022
Synopsis: In the 1930s, three friends witness a murder, are framed for it, and uncover one of the most outrageous plots in American history.


Amsterdam (2022)