“Amsterdam”: The Film

Looking for something, post-coronation we decided to take a chance and watched it last night.

Is it the best film ever? Absolutely not.

Is it the worst? Absolutely not.

It is a perfect example I think of not judging a film based on its reported “poor” box office receipts. Its Wikipedia says its budget ballooned unexpectedly to $80 million because of Covid restrictions imposed on it during filming in 2021. It is now hard to imagine a film like it making that huge overrun money back at the current box office.

Also I suspect the studio/distributor did not really know how to market it, which is understandable. It struck me as sort of a mishmash at times of Bridge of Spies crossed with oddities like The Queen’s Gambit (and Anya Taylor-Joy of that is in this, too) mixed with Only Murders In The Building; you have to watch it and listen to the dialogue (not look down at your phone intermittently throughout), and it also assumes its viewers know a few things about its time period. It is maybe too “cerebral” and difficult to place easily in any one “genre” in our increasingly “video game” cinema era. (I was unfamiliar with the director. In writing this post I looked him up: he is known for being in the past, shall we say, “abusive” toward cast and crew, including going into a foul-mouthed tirade at Lily Tomlin and head-butting George Clooney on a set. Among other “beauts.” Let’s just say we will leave his pretty questionable personal “issues” out of this post.)

We also know “high tech” “blockbusters” are what make the most money through cinemas now, and in this there are no planets destroyed, no alien life forms, or extended other-worldly fight scenes. (Beyond some very human fists being thrown and a few decidedly not high tech gunshots, it is certainly not an “action” movie.) I refuse to underestimate anyone’s knowledge (I will not do so in my own novels), but the U.S. in World War I (1917-18) and its immediate aftermath are I suspect relatively little-known by now to many or even most American late-teen and twenty-something cinema goers. (In particular, the “Bonus Army” in Washington in 1932 is part of the storyline? I almost fell over at that. NEVER had I thought that would ever make it to a “mainstream” film in the 21st century.) Neither do I like to say something is not for “younger” people (again, I will not do so in my own novels), but objectively speaking this is probably a film aimed at a slightly “older” audience… that does not really go to cinemas any longer.

[Photo by Pavel Danilyuk on Pexels.com]

So forget the box office earnings report as meaning it must be a “bad” film. Cinema-going habits and goers have changed a lot in the last few years. I suspect there is simply not a large enough cinema-going audience now for a film like this one and it should have instead immediately gone to Disney+ where it is now.

If you are looking for something new on a streaming service and are interested in a “star-studded” (Taylor Swift even has a few scenes and she’s actually good – as if she needed anything else to be good at) and quirky period piece (with some vague basis in some fact; it is a lot better in my humble opinion than anything called Bridgerton), don’t be afraid to give it a watch. It may not have attracted huge crowds to cinemas, but it does not drag, is only slightly longer than two hours (a lot less than most superhero films), and held my attention throughout.

Overall, I found it far more entertaining than the “award-winning” The Banshees of Inisherin (set in Ireland in roughly the same time period) that is also on Disney+ and which we gave up on as awful about an hour or so into it. (We could tolerate no more.) Amsterdam is not some landmark in great cinema either – don’t get me wrong about that. But I have sat through MUCH worse that made “gazillions” in cinemas.

Thus ends my bad “Roger Ebert” impersonation. LOL! Hope you are having a good weekend, wherever you are. 🙂

Further thoughts?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s