Amsterdam opens with a tagline that reads “A lot of this really happened,” a cutesy testimony meant to foreshadow that the film will at once relay a fascinating true story, while also cheekily muddying the line between fiction and reality. But the only thing that writer/director David O. Russell muddies is his own plot.
Amsterdam follows an unlikely trio: A one-eyed eccentric named Burt Berendsen (Christian Bale), his deadpan best friend Harold Woodsman (John David Washington) and Valerie Voze (Margot Robbie), a rollicking military nurse with an affinity for forging macabre sculptures out of bloody shrapnel. The three meet at the tail end of World War I, and instantly forge a lifelong bond.
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