Review: Vice

Back so soon! Turns out there was a showing at a good time last night, and so I’m writing to review Adam McKay’s latest film, Vice. If you don’t recognize his name, he has also directed comedies like Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy, Step Brothers, and The Other Guys, as well as his 5 Academy Awards nominee The Big Short, which went on to win Best Adapted Screenplay in 2016. And I think it’s fair to say that I saw a lot of his previous work at play in this film. There was a comedic undertone to a majority of the movie, and although it was a mostly consistent film, it did like to jump around a lot. Now, there is a lot to unpack about this movie, but I’ll try to be concise.
First, the acting. Christian Bale was phenomenal. Known for fluctuating his physical appearance for films (The Machinist, Batman Begins, American Hustle), his likeness to former Vice President Dick Cheney was uncanny. He moved and spoke just like I remember of Cheney when he was in office. And as it was, I think his was the only outstanding performance in the film. Amy Adams was great in a few scenes, but despite her character’s strong disposition, she mostly seemed along for the ride. Steve Carell was 100% present as his character from The Office, Michael Scott. And Sam Rockwell basically played former President George W. Bush as an SNL sketch, which I will get back to. Together, they gave us an enjoyable performance, and I was engaged in all but their sequence on the War on Iraq, as the focus seemed to turn away from Cheney and rely on a heavy political agenda.
Second, it was not easy to miss the fact that this movie was written and directed by a Democrat, but for me that didn’t take away much from the film. They were very self-aware of it, which makes the end-credits scene even better (stay after for a few minutes). I’m not going to take every “fact” from the movie at face value, nor do I believe that everything in Cheney’s life played out just like it did in the film, but I don’t see how either of those detract from Bale’s performance or McKay’s comedic writing.
Lastly, you should know that Cheney was written to be the biggest power-hungry character since Francis Underwood in House of Cards, and Bush was written to be a southern, incompetent bum. I was still a young guy when Bush and Cheney took office, so although this film reminded me of a lot of aspects of their time leading the country, I wasn’t paying much attention at the time. This movie will surely rub headstrong Republicans the wrong way with it’s apparent disrespect toward our former leaders, but like I said previously, I was still able to enjoy many aspects of the movie. So, if you can get past the clearly one-sided nature of the characters portrayed, then you will probably like this film. If you cannot, then I either suggest you wait until it hits Redbox/streaming, or just skip it altogether…mostly because I don’t want my Facebook news feed bogged down by people’s complaints 🙂
Thanks for reading, and congrats if you were able to make it through the entire review. This one was a little longer than I will normally write, so no judgment if you skimmed. The Golden Globes are on tonight at 5:00pm PST, and I should note that Vice was nominated for 6 awards! I am ready to cheer on several of my favorite films and tv series of the year, so tune in to watch if that’s your thing too. Cheers!

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