It is not as clean or focused as The Big Short, but Adam McKay still does a damn good job at presenting to us the man who is Dick Cheney.
From drunk Yale dropout to most powerful man in the world, Dick Cheney’s story and claim to fame is full of twists and turns, ups and downs. And where this story could’ve been as mundane as foreign policy, energy, and military control are to George W. Bush, director-writer McKay is able to craft something highly interesting. Without stripping the seriousness from the subject, McKay weaves his own dark-humor into the script and will make you laugh as much as you reflect. He masterfully achieves this tone which is a blend of comedy, drama, political satire, and heartbreak (in Cheney’s case, literal heartbreak). Vice is as stylized as the Big Short and continues the fourth wall breaks and outside narration which work as well as they did in 2015.
Reminiscent of Gary Oldman’s Oscar-winning performance last year, in which he disappeared into the role of Winston Churchill, Christian Bale completely becomes Dick Cheney in a physical transformation making him barely recognizable. Bale imitates the gruff and assertiveness so well you are not watching an actor, but the actual Cheney himself. Amy Adams also does a tremendous job as Cheney’s ever-supportive wife Lynne Cheney. Adams is fiery, strong-willed, and believably the foundation to Cheney’s rise to power. She riles up a crowd like no other, she doesn’t take crap from anyone, not even Dick, and Adams’ performance is much like Claire Foy’s in First Man with an expanded role. Sam Rockwell and Steve Carell put in much more caricature-like performances as George W. Bush and Donald Rumsfeld. Vice features some of the strongest acting performances I’ve seen all year.
Vice is a bit of a controversial film, how could a movie about more contemporary U.S. politics not be? I agree with the takes that the film falls under the category of love it or hate it, and I find myself in the love it crowd. From start to finish, Vice had me hooked. It’s not right or wrong, it’s just good filmmaking. 9/10