“I will not apologize for keeping this country safe” is a line the Dick Cheney character says near the end of Adam McKay’s new movie Vice. According to the film this phrase is how Richard Bruce Cheney justified his actions throughout his career in Washington. Now I am not here to talk about his politics or how his actions affected America. I am just here to judge this as a stand alone piece of work.
As I said earlier Vice is Directed by one of my all time favorite directors in Adam McKay. If you are unfamiliar he is a former SNL writer has directed Anchorman, Talladega Nights, Step Brothers, The Other Guys and The Big Short before this. The Big Short is the one we are going to focus on though, because it seems McKay starting honing his new style during that film. His style is so different and interesting because it involves a ton of cutting back and forth between scenes; however it also involves him creating scenarios where narrators explain complex ideas in Layman’s terms. The latter made the Big Short and Vice much easier to follow for people who may not follow the financial and political worlds in depth. He brings that style to Vice in very effective ways and it makes the movie very enjoyable to follow.
Even though he is such a private guy (as the movie jokingly points out) we get to see a good mix of Cheney’s early life in Wyoming and then his later political life in Washington DC. He is portrayed as a master maneuverer and someone who knew how to find power in any way possible. I will say there are times the movie drags and a couple cuts that just feel unnecessary.
Starring in this is one of the All Timers in Christian Bale. He is probably the best actor in the world right now since Daniel Day Lewis says he’s retired. Bale transforms into Cheney unlike anything I have seen since the aforementioned Day Lewis became Lincoln. He looks like him, talks like him, and just makes you believe everything he did on screen Cheney did in real life. Bale is so damn good in this movie he is absolutely in the Pantheon of greatest actors in History and is my front runner for this years Oscar.
His partner in crime (take this one of two ways) in the movie is Donald Rumsfeld played by Steve Carell (in a much different role than Welcome to Marwen). He gets to basically act like an ass all movie while portraying a man who surprisingly kept positions of power for a long time. There is an interesting dichotomy of apprentice and master with him and Cheney throughout the movie that is fun to watch. Of course Sam Rockwell is great playing an especially goofy George W. Bush, he gets to put on a southern accent and smile at Christian Bale’s grimace.
The last performance to highlight is the always great Amy Adams. Every time she is in a something she just brings it, one of the more reliable actors out there. She has a good mix of understanding and intensity this movie that would be hard to match for any other actress (god damn I sound like an asshole).
A Couple other Tidbits:
- Tyler Perry (A long way from Madea movies) give some stirring work in only a few scenes as Colin Powell.
- Watching Cheney turn on his daughter was heart wrenching (not a spoiler it happened in real life).
A Condoleezza Rice character gets a line or two in this, thats fun.
There will of course be people upset with how the Republican party is portrayed throughout the movie. If people can separate themselves from that and just enjoy, they might find this is one of this years gems. I really hope McKay continues to make movies like this.
*As always all of my Ratings can be found here Movie Ratings