Hollywood star Rami Malek says ‘Amsterdam’ was a ‘once in a lifetime’ experience
DUBAI: Rami Malek was looking for that. After the Egyptian-American actor won an Oscar for his acclaimed performance as Queen’s late frontman Freddie Mercury in 2018’s “Bohemian Rhapsody,” he didn’t want his meteoric rise to plateau. He wanted to work with the best artists in the world, he wanted something unlike anything else, he wanted a project with a message he believed in. He wanted “Amsterdam“.
The film, which opens in the Middle East this week, is the latest from David O. Russell, the Oscar-nominated filmmaker behind 2010’s ‘The Fighter’, 2012’s ‘Silver Linings Playbook’ and 2013’s ‘American Hustle’. ). In Malek’s eyes, it was everything he had hoped for and more. It’s a film for the best of us, following three people seemingly broken by a society that seems to have no use for them, who choose love – for themselves, for each other and for the world. that surrounds them – to fight for what is true, but strangely they go about it.
“You’ve probably heard that, and I hope it’s not a cliché to say it was a once-in-a-lifetime experience. It’s a movie that just spoke to me,” says Malek, who filmed ‘Amsterdam’ after becoming a Bond villain in ‘No Time to Die’ and a police investigator opposite Denzel Washington in ‘The Little Things’, both released in 2021.
“It’s based on something as simple as weighing love against hate, and it resonates throughout the film. It delivers like this great comedic thriller, with this shocking and untold story, but while having these themes that resonate with all of us,” continues Malek.
That’s not to say “Amsterdam” is as bright and cheerful as you might expect, based on the buzz of its tracks, which include Oscar winners Christian Bale and Margot Robbie. The film, set in the 1930s, follows three people struggling with post-war injuries as they try to solve the murder of a young woman that happened right in front of them, and unravel the conspiracy. larger who is determined to attribute the crime to them, among other horrific acts, the trailer does not want to spoil. Malek plays Robbie’s brother, an eccentric and extremely wealthy philanthropist.
While the movie gets extremely dark at times, for Russell that’s exactly why he needed characters who wouldn’t feel marred by the darkness all around, and a handful of the world’s most charismatic actors for the to play. It was an idea he had when he saw Jack Nicholson play in Roman Polanski’s “Chinatown” (1974).
“I didn’t understand the importance of that when I first saw ‘Chinatown’, to be honest. But I noticed that they had a sense of humor, that they had the joy of life, that they had confidence in themselves and that they had a gleam in their eyes. They had the tragedy of their past. But, nevertheless, that did not stop them,” Russell told Arab News.
For Bale, the only way out of the tragedy is to find that gleam in the eye.
“Hope and optimism is really the only answer because, as I think he says again in the movie, the alternative is no good,” Bale says.
Filling out the cast is a veritable row of killer – pardon the pun – talent, with Anya Taylor-Joy playing Malek’s wife, Taylor Swift their close family friend and Robert De Niro as a retired general, with a triple Oscar winner behind the camera – cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki (“Gravity”, “Birdman”, “The Revenant”), affectionately known in Hollywood as “Chivo”.
“This cast is an orchestra, and everyone plays their own instrument and it’s beautiful. It was one of those sets where you don’t come back to your trailer, because you want to watch what’s going on. And beyond all that, these are people who are at the top of their game,” says Malek.
In the film, Amsterdam becomes a metaphor for the happiest time in their lives, the place where they fight to return. For Malek, looking back on his filming experience, his own “Amsterdam” is now the setting for the film itself.
“I think when we finished with this film, I asked myself, what is my Amsterdam? What is this moment where I had emotion, but I also had this great connection with human beings that brought me to a place where I was able to transcend? And I think for me, that’s going to be part of a movie that makes the audience feel that way on the way out. That’s something that will remain sacred to me long after the premiere of this movie,” Malek says. “And yes, it’s going to stand the test of time.”