Director: David O. Russell
Writer: David O. Russell
Stars: Margot Robbie, Anya Taylor-Joy, Christian Bale
Nadia (Naian González Norvind), an actress, and Martín (Sebastián Buitrón), a musician, live together in the modern neighborhood of La Condesa in Mexico City. They have been together for a while, which we can see in their interactions, which are often tense. When Martín inadvertently wakes Nadia up while she is recording some riffs, the two have a bitter exchange that leads to Martín heading to a bar to hang out with friends.
As he walks to the bar, a scruffy dog starts following him and waits for him until he leaves at closing time. The puppy then follows him back to his apartment. I saw WhatsApp messages with Nadia, they decide to take him home, feed him and take him to the vet the next day. Hopefully, he belongs to someone.
But the presence of the dog lightens the mood between the two. And the as-yet-unnamed dog becomes the focus of their day. Nadia attends a movie audition, cheering on her friend Violeta (Danae Reynaud), who is going for the same role. She also attends an audition for commercials, where she has to kiss three different potential co-stars. One of them, Andy (Sebastián Aguirre), is directing an independent film, knows about her work and offers her a role.
Martín, working as a sound engineer, meets Marina (Ximena Romo), an old friend, and there is an obvious attraction. He also has a crush on Laura (Maria Evoli), the vet he takes the dog to, especially when she opens the door to her store at closing time and seems ready to go out for the night.
But when Martín and Nadia bring the dog home, they have a moment together that they haven’t had in a long time. They call it Amsterdam, after the name of the street where Martin found it.
It seems that the initial plot of Amsterdam, written and directed by Gustavo Taretto, has to do with the dog that seems to bring Nadia and Martín closer again after a period in which the pair simply did not connect. But it is about something bigger than that. It’s about a couple of artists who are trying to figure out their lives apart and together in this trendy historic neighborhood. It definitely shows what life is like in a section of Mexico City that not many people outside of Mexico know about, including a lot of great pictures.
We are a little worried about the pace. Shows like this sometimes tend to forget that they need a narrative boost to keep people watching, even if the writing is solid and the performances are natural and engaging. Certainly, Amsterdam has both. We believe Norvind and Buitrón as a couple who love each other but are fed up with each other. At one point, Nadia tells Violeta that she has no plans to break up with Martín, and we believe her. Just because there is tension doesn’t mean that both ends of a couple don’t want things to work out. And that vibe is more than evident in the first episode.
There are hints that there will be that narrative push in the first season, even if it happens at a leisurely pace. Martin’s encounter with Marina will be explored, as well as his attraction to Laura. From Nadia’s side, it seems that she will definitely be involved professionally with Andy and his movie. Whether or not that gets personal remains to be seen, but it will certainly have an impact on Martin and Nadia.
But so will Amsterdam. Sometimes having someone to care for, whether it’s a child or a furry baby, takes people’s attention away from themselves and others and eases tensions. As the puppy becomes more integrated into the life of the couple, we will see how their interactions with each other change. We just hope we don’t leave out of boredom before that happens.