500 Days Of Film Reviews Vice Starring Christian Bale And Amy Adams

How bureaucratic Washington insider, Dick Cheney (Christian Bale) quietly became the most powerful man in the world as vice- president to George W. Bush, reshaping the country and the globe in ways that we still feel today.

Is It Any Good?

Despite an impressive central performance from an almost unrecognisable Christian Bale and a pitch perfect portrayal from Amy Adams (as Lynne Cheney), Adam McKay’s showy film about the (still largely unknown) life of Dick Cheney did not work for me.


Continuing the staccato, fourth wall breaking style he adopted in The Big Short, McKay uses a range of in your face and flashy cinematic devices to tell his story. While some work better than others, there’s not a subtle moment in the entire movie. McKay throws everything but the kitchen sink at this thing.


The cumulative effect, for me at least, was a feeling that McKay was making a lot of noise but saying very little. I felt no closer to knowing or understanding Dick Cheney by the end of Vice than I did at the beginning. 


Now, I have no doubt that McKay has done his research. However, he blames Cheney for so much with very little evidence to back up his claims. Of course, Vice is not a documentary. However, in this world of "alternative facts", the film's failure to convince is unsettling.


In addition, the use of (the always likeable) Jesse Plemons to guide us through the story soon becomes annoying and rather patronising. These events do not have the complexity of The Big Short’s collateralised debt obligations and I, for one, did not need this level of hand-holding. 



That is not to say that Vice is a bad movie. It is amusing, entertaining (if overlong) and features, as previously mentioned, some great performances - the supporting cast are all impressive (although the best actor Oscar nom for Sam Rockwell still baffles me). 


If nothing else, Vice makes you think about the abuse of power and its consequences. While the film seems rather jaded about our desire for change (Vice is as much about the Trump presidency as it is about Dick Cheney’s time in power), there is always hope… isn’t there?


I admire McKay’s innovative filmmaking style - even when it doesn’t quite work, I am still so glad that he is willing to experiment. I believe that McKay has the potential to create a true cinematic masterpiece. Sadly, Vice isn’t that film.  


Random Observations

Have you seen Vice? If you have, what did you think of this movie? Let me know in the comments section below or over on Twitter. You can find me @500DaysOfFilm.

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Jane Douglas-Jones
Jane Douglas-Jones



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