Vice impresses at the theaters


Vice was released in theatres on December 25, 2018. Photo courtesy of IMDB.

Daniel Klepp '20, Staff Writer

Vice starring Christian Bale as Dick Cheney directed by Adam McKay, is a “comedy” about the life of Dick Cheney, the infamous Vice President to George W. Bush. I place comedy in quotes because Vice does not feel like it is written like a comedy; it feels like a semi-accurate portrayal of events that plays like a comedy due to their utter absurdity. While at times the movie may seem to be pandering to a liberal audience for consistent mindless amusement, when layers are peeled back, it is a bipartisan criticism of the citizen’s perception of government.

Vice adopts an unorthodox timeline by bouncing back and forth between Cheney’s earlier life and quest for power, to once he is finally in power and how he wields it. It utilizes cuts to abstract imagery in order to further stress the themes being depicted throughout. There is also a omniscient narrator that has no clear connection to Cheney– until it is revealed that he is the eventual heart donor to Cheney.

All of this works because of how excellently Bale becomes Cheney. He does an excellent job of making Cheney a protagonist, rather than a punching bag for left-leaning audience members. The most gripping part of Vice, and what humanizes Cheney most occurs when Cheney’s daughter comes out to him as gay, and despite his conservative political career, he stands by his daughter. It is all the more devastating when towards the end of the film, he rescinds this support in order to win office for his other daughter, finally ripping away any sympathy the audience may have had for him.

Vice is excellent in its casting as well. Watching trailers, I questioned the casting of Steve Carell as Donald Rumsfeld, as Carell is mostly known for his goofy style of comedic acting, but he pulls the role off masterfully, he plays a convincing ruthless politician. Other unorthodox castings include Tyler Perry, mostly known for the Madea movies, as Colin Powell, Secretary of State for the Bush administration.  The Madea movies are not known for their artistic integrity, but Perry does an excellent job.

Vice shows the American people what happens when we allow action to precede complex thought and reason.  Cheney taking control of the American Executive was not a singular happening, but rather a series of missteps by the public and government alike, which is highly portrayed throughout the film. We created Cheney because we lacked a vision for the future after 9/11, and Cheney gave us want we wanted to see.

Overall, I would give Vice a 9/10, as it is very Tarantino-esque in its combination of humor and thrill, and heavily uses excellent dialogue, the only shortcomings are the plot dragging at points.