Amsterdam Plot Synopsis
The core plot of Amsterdam is based on the conspiracy in 1933 that was unraveled by Major General Smedley Butler to oust the democratic government led by President Roosevelt and install a dictator. It was done to further Italy and Germany’s governance model to make the richer even richer and in control.
Burt, Valerie, and Harold are three unsuspecting victims caught at the wrong time by the wrong people to be embroiled in the controversy. They look for avenues to prove their innocence in the murders of Liz and Bill Meekins and must use Valerie’s brother Tom’s connections to figure out a way. Everything else you can learn in the article below!
Why did Burt, Valerie & Howard make a Pact in Amsterdam?
One of the most unique aspects of Amsterdam was the Pact between the protagonist trio (played by Bale, Washington, and Robbie). They all met in a hospital after being badly wounded in battle and Valerie took care of them. She was a runaway from home. Burt (Bale) cut an isolated figure owing to the indifferent and cruel behavior of his in-laws. They forced him to join the war to “add prestige to their family”. Harold (Washington) felt a strong prejudice against him owing to his skin color and deserted the racial society to find “peace” and togetherness in the army.
If one zooms out and looks from the outside in, the trio were a band of misfits. They stuck together during the biggest lows of their lives, only to remain together during their highest points and moments of joy. Living in Amsterdam allowed them the freedom to be who they were without being held back by pressure or systemic racism.
Their pact was thus created because of their close friendship — it was a promise to always be there for each other no matter what. By being part of the Pact, the trio was assured of a security blanket in case of emergencies.
It also gave them a sense of belongingness and a space where they won’t be judged for who they were. Their life choices certainly attracted scrutiny from society but among themselves, the trio never really cared for such things.
How were the Vozes involved in the political conspiracy?
The Vozes were a peculiar pair. Both Malen and Anya Taylor have a unique image among modern cinemagoers that is convincing in portraying them as perverse or evil. The Voze couple could not have better-suited actors playing the roles and they indeed were the antagonists, as their backstage conversation with Dillenbeck and Burt revealed.
Tom only agreed to help Burt and Harold because he felt they could bring him closer to Dillenbeck. Once he would have had access, he could have persuaded him with money and bribes. Tom even planted the seed of Dillenbeck potentially helping the duo figure out the murder of Bill Meekins.
Tom, as it turns out, was a benefactor of the Committee. Through his foundation, he supported the fascist regimes in Italy and Germany, even going on to help Goering become a substantial figure in the Nazi empire. He provided funds and resources for the movements to flourish and wanted the same thing in the US. His supposed racial superiority flowed from his lineage. When Burt confronts him about the clinics, Tom casually remarks that sterilization is an important step forward, foreshadowing Goering’s “Final Solution” plan to eradicate the Jews.
It is not quite clear if they actually were part of the Committee but they had a huge sway in their affairs. They supported the organization’s endeavors and that is enough evidence to implicate them as “one of the five”.
What was the Committee of the Five and was their existence real?
The Committee of Five was an underground organization initiated and supported by wealthy and elite industrialists. Their core purpose was to install a dictatorship regime in the US, like Italy and Germany to make the States a part of the central power axis. They pinned their hopes, first on Senator Meekins to be installed as the new leader. But after he “knew too much”, they discarded him and chose an alternative in the form of General Dillenbeck.
They needed someone reliable and decorated from the army to convince the veterans to join their bidding. Dillenbeck was one of the most respected Marines in the defense forces and had considerable sway over the current regiments.
The gala was supposed to be the lynchpin that would launch their lofty ambitions to make the US allies with the central powers. The three names (fictionalized nonetheless) that were given in the end were: Jeffers Publishing, Belport Chemicals International, and Nevins Telecommunications. When it comes to the existence of the organization, the answer is anyone’s guess really. We have seen how documented history can always have varying versions and oppositions and how the subject has lately rejected the label of “absolute truth”.
According to the current records, the Committee in the film is named “after the Second Continental Congress’ committee of the same name — John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, Robert Livingston, and Roger Sherman, as part of the Second Continental Congress, drafted the Declaration of Independence.”
Why was Senator Bill Meekins killed?
Like General Dillenbeck, Senator Meekins was also a true patriot. He cared about the national prestige and peace of the United States. The two were also friends. During the autopsy, Irma deduced that Meekins was poisoned for over a week on a boat from whence he returned dead. While the majority of the film ruminated about who killed him, Dillenbeck’s speech, in the end, gave the answer as to why. Meekins was earlier identified by the Committee to spearhead their coup attempt. He was held in a similar stature as Dillenbeck but gave them a hard time coming to terms with their plans.
But as Dillenbeck said in the speech, Meekins saw “the monster that inspired the Committee” in Rome, Italy. That monster was no other than Benito Mussolini. Meekins saw the dictator strike and kill a child with a car and did not stop. The media suppressed this news piece because he controlled them and the Committee eared that if Meeekins were to expose him, their plan could fall into jeopardy and an allied move against dictatorship as a whole could derail the momentum. Meekins was obstinate in becoming a part of the plan, and also stood as a threat against destroying it. That was the unfortunate reason Senator Bill Meekins was poisoned.
Who killed Liz and Senator Bill Meekins?
Both the father-daughter duo had one killer and that was the Committee of the Five. That is more of a general and encompassing term as the exact identity of the killer for Bill is never revealed. Liz was pushed in front of the truck by Tilram Milfax (played by Timothy Olyphant), a leading member of the organization, who also tried to kill Dillenbeck at the veteran’s gala. As for Bill, the Committee is responsible and there is also the added pressure from Mussolini, who could not have afforded the Senator to go out in the public and expose him. His entire work in Italy would have gone to waste and the plans for a dictator in the US could never have been successful.
How is the conspiracy to overthrow the Government thwarted?
Dillenbeck and the trio laid a trap at the finale gala where Bill Meekins was supposed to speak. To trap the Committee and their backers, they pretended that Dillenbeck would feign support for the cause. The General himself loathed their motives and was completely against the idea of overthrowing an elected regime. Dillenbeck meets with the supposed members of the Committee to assuage them of his support. Valerie, who was a camera in her hands, and has been shooting everything at the gala, records the conversation. But when he gets to the stage, Dillenbeck does the opposite of what he promised and exposed them in public, foiling their plan.
Burt’s back brace saves Dillenbeck and himself when Milfax, the one who killed Liz, tried to shoot the General. His attempts were thwarted by Valerie and Howard, who ambushed him before he could get a clear shot. We also learn that the Vozes were involved in the conspiracy and have been poisoning Valerie for years and gaslighting her into thinking that she’s been sick.
Unfortunately, Tom was able to stay out of jail owing to his connections and money. At the very end, Harold and Valerie make the decision to go back to the place where they were happiest – the eponymous Amsterdam – and Burt stays behind in New York to pursue his new relationship with Irma St. Clair (Zoe Saldaña).
Read More: Amsterdam Movie Review