The only really spoiler in this review of VICE is that right after the review I am going to post an article from USA Today that fact checks the movie. It is quite astonishing. The whole damn movie is astonishing. What Dick Cheney got away with…no matter what your political leanings…will have your jaw dropped on the floor at some points in the film. And the film takes a fourth wall comical approach to it all. Not surprising that is this coming from the same writer and director (Adam McKay) that brought you The Big Short (this films breaks the fourth wall every minute, this movie is a bit more tame), but very surprising that McKay also brought you Step Brothers, Talladega Nights, Anchorman 1 & 2, and The Other Guys. The movie is written, filmed, and given to the audience in a way where it’s not just another biographical film on a famous political figure, its an experience that sucks you in and never even comes close to any sort of boring zone that you can think of.
And give Christian Bale the Oscar. Let’s skip finding a host for the Academy Awards and skip the ceremony altogether, and just send Bale the Oscar. He is Dick Cheney in this. And it isn’t just an actor mimicking and doing an impression of a famous figure type of performance. Bale becomes Cheney, absorbs him 150%, where there is literally no trace of Bale left to be found. We all know that Bale can act himself out of a paper bag, but after this, and looking back, what he has done with his entire career is beyond mere words. Expect him at a earlier late age to receive the lifetime achievement Oscar. But wait just a minute, lets give some props to Amy Adams as well, who gives us yet another mind bending and fantastically emotional supporting performance as Cheney’s wife Lynne, and we’ll see her name announcing her 6th Oscar nomination (no wins) come January.
The movie thankfully doesn’t go from birth to death (he’s not dead yet) with Cheney. It starts out with him getting yet another DUI in his college years, while dating Lynne at the time, at a point in time where his future wife gives him an ultimatum, which coincidentally was crossroads for the American people. The movie is 2 and a half hours of perfectly blended comedy, drama, and biographical context and subtext (be sure to stay for a mid credits scene). It harnesses the very important parts of Cheney’s life and career, and has no filler, the passage of time used sparingly and appropriately.
The comedy and the things that Cheney did during his career will have you glued to your seat in awe. Some of it is just pure madness, you don’t know how he and others got away with it all. The movie could easily have made it a hard drama, depicting everything with a true sense of horror, confusion, and sadness. But I can’t see the movie being made any other way than this, the comedy works very, very, very well. It pokes fun while also telling harsh truths with in your face warnings. The Big Short did this as well, and it was one of my top ten film of 2015. It is safe to say that this is too.
If I had any complaints, is that there wasn’t enough Sam Rockwell to warrant the Oscar buzz he is getting for playing George W. Bush. Don’t worry, he is actually pretty great in the scenes he is in, he just wasn’t in it enough to warrant all this praise. It should be going to Steve Carell as Donald Rumsfeld, who is in the movie more, and plays it just as quietly sadistic as Bale does with Cheney. Anyway, to not keep rambling on, you MUST see this movie. Adam McKay did his research, and tried to make it as true a story as possible. No matter your political leanings, go see Vice. It’s not only a well made and very funny film, it’s well made, it’s informative, all while being entertaining as anything you’ve seen all year. Truly masterful. Here is the fact checking article I was talking about in the opening paragraph, please do not read it until after you’ve seen the movie: