Vice

So Dick Cheney is an evil piece of shit. You may remember him from such roles as acting like a cardboard cutout of the American Vice President while he secretly usurped the president’s powers to rewrite the U.S. Constitution, orchestrate wars, and author ISIS.

Dick Cheney (Christian Bale) is a power-hungry beast who doesn’t let anything stop him from acting as the Leader of the Free World – not ethics, not the well-defined roles of President and Vice President, not democracy, not NUTHIN. Adam McKay’s film, Vice, MV5BMDY1MTdkODgtZjYyYy00ZTQ4LTliN2YtOWZhZGFiMzNmNjdjXkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyNzg2ODI2OTU@._V1_shows Cheney’s reluctance to be George W.’s running mate. Even though Cheney views VP as a “zero job,” he is always thinking dozens of steps ahead; he’s not going to sit around waiting for the president to die so he can wear the crown. In W., Cheney found a moron so empty, so distracted, so willing to give away all the actual power, and Cheney’s astute enough to surreptitiously pull the oval office throne right out from under Bush Junior. McKay brings Cheney’s machinations to the silver screen – every scheme, every lie and every gory detail.

This movie takes some big risks and its story-telling bravely exists outside the normal narrative bounds (though fans of The Big Short won’t find it nearly so fresh). With such big swings, there are inevitably some big misses.  This movie didn’t always work for me, but I still admired it for having such a distinct voice.

Christian Bale undergoes quite a transformation to play Cheney, though I never forgot I was watching Bale like I did when I was watching Sam Rockwell play Dubyah. Credit to the actors of course, but I believe the incredible hair and makeup effects team will be recognized for astonishing work – Tyler Perry as Colin Powell is a prime example. Steve Carell as Donald Rumsfeld and Amy Adams as Lynne Cheney round out an enviable cast doing some very fine work.

Unfortunately, the script isn’t consistent. This isn’t really a Dick Cheney biopic, it’s the incredible true story of how a rogue Vice President hijacked George W. Bush’s entire administration. It would be a monumentally impressive heist if it wasn’t so mind-meltingly devastating to the world at large. But to tell the story in sufficient detail, McKay has to take some moon-gravity-sized leaps. Decades of Cheney’s life are not just gone, but forgotten, which results in some swiss-cheese-plot-holes that were hard to forgive – though a liberal sprinkling of heart attacks like sea salt on fries went a long way.

The truth is, though, that Sean and I dissected this movie backwards and forwards and then we poked at it from the side too, over Doritos-dusted mac and cheese bites, and while that doesn’t mean Vice is a flawless movie, it must mean that it’s a good one, a worthy one. In fact, part of its brilliance is how it draws you in at the end, turning audience members into characters partially responsible for these atrocities. Vice depicts events of recent history, and like it or not, we’re complicit, and McKay inspires us to take a hard look in the mirror and a cold drink at the well of social responsibility.

17 thoughts on “Vice

  1. StephLove

    While we were discussing movies that we might want to see, Beth ruled this one out. I think because she just doesn’t want to think about Dick Cheney any more than necessary.

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  2. tubularsock

    Oh yes, fucking dick cheney!

    Dick is evil and the reason for that is because he is according to David Icke a shape-shifting alien reptile known as a lizzy!

    And there is no debate here ………. Tubularsock believes!

    That is why the son of a bitch doesn’t have his own heart!

    Now some may say, why is Tubularsock so upset with Dick and it is only because the movie VISE has opened old feeling of wanting to thrust Tubularsock’s hand into Dick’s chest cavity, rip out his fake heart and cast it to the pigs!

    Now on the other hand, the one not clinched to Dick’s beating fake heart, Tubularsock loved the film. It was well done and did miss some key points but hey one had to have some space not to choke on the popcorn!

    Great review, Jay.

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  3. Courtney Small

    I struggled with this film. There is much I enjoyed in it but I feel the film tried to bite off too much. It often glossed over key points, in favour of an easy gag, in a way that it did not work for me. I will say that I am enjoying reading the vastly different takes many have on the film. It may be dividing audiences but it is stirring up interesting discussions. Great review.

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  4. selizabryangmailcom

    I used to enjoy the fact that Dick was compared to Darth Vader, but now I realize it’s not the best comparison because it subscribes too much sleek, almost anti-hero prowess to that conniving piece of crap. It’ll be hard to watch this movie, especially feeling even remotely complicit on any level. 😦

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  5. Keith

    It has been fun watching the wide range of opinions on this movie. I’m still mixed with where I stand on it. Definitely didn’t make my Top 10 but I still can’t come to a solid conclusion.

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  6. Liz A.

    And it’s probably a good reminder of how we got to where we are right now. Sigh. I’ll see this, but not in the theater. I think I’ll need to take this in chunks, while knitting. I’ll need the comfort.

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  7. Brittani

    I haven’t gotten a chance to see this yet and I want to so badly. I’m hoping I can see it before the Globes on Sunday.

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  8. EclecticMusicLover

    God, how I despise Dick Cheney, nearly as much as I loathe Trump! I like your statements “a rogue Vice President hijacked George W. Bush’s entire administration. It would be a monumentally impressive heist if it wasn’t so mind-meltingly devastating to the world at large.” America’s really had some repulsive leaders over the past 50 years. Makes me sick and embarrassed to be an American these days.

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  9. Pingback: ASSHOLES WATCHING MOVIESOscars 2019 Recap

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