- 25 Jan 19
Vice is a powerful skewering of the former Vice President of the US, Dick Cheney, the man who paved the way for 'alternative facts'.
Adam McKay's scathing, blackly funny examination of ex-Vice President Dick Cheney has received mixed reviews in the States; some undoubtedly based in political bias, and some due to complaints that after a two-hour film, the audience still doesn't fully understand the mind and motivations of Dick Cheney.
Allow me to counter those criticisms with one simple fact: Dick Cheney literally shot a person in the face and had them apologise for causing him and his family inconvenience. There simply is no understanding the mind and motivations of a person like that.
Of course, that is one of the smallest examples of how Cheney became a master puppeteer, who inflicted colossal amounts of violence while dodging blame. With dashes of his now trademark sense of meta satire, writer/director McKay charts his questionable command grab in the moments after 9/11; his search for 'legal' ways to trash the Geneva Convention; and his deliberate manipulation of the American people to support the invasion of a country that had nothing to do with 9/11.
Combined with portraits of a young Cheney and George W. Bush as alcoholic idiots who loved power more than politics itself, McKay's recitation of Cheney's rap sheet is told with the cracked, vengeful glee of someone who has been waiting for an audience. But as the zingy, fourth-wall-breaking flourishes continue, there's also a sense that humour might be necessary to emotionally cope with the revelations of how one man led to an entire country being misled - and its disastrous consequences today.
With the help of imperceptible prosthetics, Christian Bale completely disappears into his brilliantly cold, dry, growly, and quietly ego-driven portrait, with Amy Adams also giving a blazing performance as a Lady Macbeth-inspired Lynne Cheney. With so much information to impart, Vice may not have the neat slickness of The Big Short, but McKay's blistering talent for drawing attention to stories many Americans still don't want to see remains unchallenged.
Vice is in cinemas now.