Viva Flop Fever: Amsterdam Review

Since COVID, there have been very few, if any, movies that could be labelled as true ‘flops.’ Lacklustre box office takings could be attributed to audiences taking longer to return to the cinema than expected, while others have simply been ignored and forgotten about on one of the multitude of streaming services. However, with Top Gun: Maverick about to break into the top 10 highest grossing films of all time and a remastered Avatar taking $70m in three weeks, the “no one is going” argument doesn’t hold water anymore. Flop season is officially back.

The words ‘Amsterdam’ and ‘flop’ have been almost inseparable since it released. It cost a reported $80m to make and is absolutely staked with A-list stars – Christian Bale, Margot Robbie, John David Washington, Rami Malek, Robert De Niro, Anya Taylor-Joy, Taylor Swift…and more. But despite the star power, it’s not attracting an audience. Scoring just 33% on movie-gospel Rotten Tomatoes, it took just $6.5m in its first week in the US and less than a movie starring a Shawn Mendes animated crocodile.

One of the principal reasons for this poor performance is possibly because the film itself is quite bland. The film is part of a growing trend of movies set in mid-war America that is drenched in orange and filled with glamorous outfits. While the costumes are undoubtedly exquisite and the film looks good, there isn’t anything in the design to make it stand out.

The other main issue is the rather unfocused plot. It lurches between murder investigation, quirky art-girl love story, and stopping some Nazis without sufficient time or attention given to any of them to make them fully coherent stories. All of them could work as interesting stories, but in Amsterdam they mostly come across as half-baked ideas. The final twenty-or-so minutes does as much as it can to put the story together, and is probably the best part of the movie, but the rest lacks enough focus to stay engaged.

As you would expect from an A-list filled film, the problem is not with the acting. Margot Robbie delivers a strong performance as nurse ‘Valerie’ while De Niro is the standout outside of the main characters as he professionally embodies the character of General Dillenbeck. The other actors are okay, however, Rami Malek feels underutilised, similar to last year’s Bond flick, and Taylor Swift does very little in the time she is on screen (count how many times she says “Minters restaurant” if you do go and see it).

There is not much to suggest that Amsterdam’s box office fortunes will change. It’s a confusing movie that easily blends into the background of modern Hollywood, despite the best efforts of a star-studded cast. 

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