Photo of a scene from the film, Amsterdam

After witnessing a murder, three friends are framed as they try to uncover the true murderer and the larger plot. I am honestly not sure where to even begin with this one. I cannot say I was excited about this film since the trailers were pretty bland, but it easily had the best cast of the year. The film stars Christian Bale, John David Washington and Margot Robbie, with a supporting cast highlighted by Robert De Niro, Anya Taylor Joy, Rami Malek and half a dozen others. Writer and director, David O. Russell, has shown talent with "The Fighter" and "Silver Linings Playbook," but his latest film fails on every single front.

You would expect that a cast with this much talent would be the highlight, yet every single actor seems completely unprepared and gives no effort whatsoever. Bale is the only watchable actor, but it is still lackluster by his standards. Washington seems like he's being held hostage on screen — he delivers every line in the most monotone voice possible. Not only is the acting terrible, but there is no chemistry between any of them. Bale and Washington are supposed to play best friends, but on screen, it's as if they have never met before. 

While the acting was atrocious, the worst part of the film was the screenplay. It is quite easily the worst screenplay of the year. It is messy, boring, and there is not a single hint of subtlety. None of the dialogue is believable or even close to how people actually talk. The golden rule in film is 'show, don't tell.' Apparently, nobody told Russell that because the entire film tells the audience what is going on rather than showing it. "Amsterdam" is supposed to be a murder mystery, and a huge part of that genre is defined by having the audience try to figure out what happened. The film doesn't even allow anybody to do that because it just flat-out says it. A large chunk of this is from a voiceover by Bale, which is always a very lazy form of storytelling.

Not only should a whodunit be clever in its writing, but it should also be suspenseful and keep the audience guessing and on its toes. But, unsurprisingly, there's none of that either. Not a single hint of tension or suspense in the entirety of the film. Part of this is due to the unbelievably slow pace of the film, to the point where I wish I could have fallen asleep. The film is 135 minutes and every single minute is felt. Other reasons are that none of the characters are remotely interesting, and there is no flow to the film. Every scene feels isolated and then forced between two others and drags longer than it needs to. It feels like every shot lingers more than it should.

There's not too much else to say except that "Amsterdam" is messy, boring, thinks it's way more clever than it actually is and the biggest Oscar bait film so far of the year. I could have forgiven many atrocities that occurred during this one, but the fact that there is so much star power behind it makes it impossible to do so. There have been a couple of terrible films this year, but this one is the worst.

Rating: 1/10