Vice tells the story of one of the most dangerously ambitious American politicians of all time – Dick Cheney. Cheney leveraged a deal that made him the most powerful Vice President in American history. As the biggest power player in the Bush administration, it's widely accepted that he masterminded the war on terror and the invasion of Iraq.
The early political career of Cheyney placed him as Donald Rumsfeld's assistant. Nixon described his frustrations with Rumsfeld, describing him as a man who will not toe the line. The pair held positions with Nixon, Ford and George Bush Snr. But it was within the George W. Bush administration that their bureaucratic skills enabled them to execute their plans.
I think you will agree with me that any depiction of the actions of a political faction will always display a level of bias. And Vice could be accused of being a liberal lambasting of the demons within the Republican party. Even though it is made clear that you are watching a satire, some elements of this film are rammed down the audience's throats in an excessive way. In particular, the final stages, that seem to switch away from the humor in favor of enforcing the filmmaker's beliefs.
Having said that though, it has to be said that Adam McKay does do a great job at getting the message across. Whilst delivering an entertaining ride that keeps the viewers locked in. McKay directs and writes Vice as he did with the 2015 release, The Big Short. But for me, his comedy style was applied with much more balance in The Big Short than in this film.
Christian Bale is outstanding playing Cheyney. Even though he is drastically assisted with extraordinary help from the make-up department, you have to hand it to him, for a truly dedicated portrayal. Amy Adams gives a good performance playing his wife. But for me, the real standouts come from Steve Carrell and Sam Rockwell (Mr. Right). Carrell plays Donald Rumsfeld with some of the best lines in the whole film and Rockwell is incredible as George W. Bush.
So what else works in this film? Well creatively Adam McKay touches on genius. He breaks the fourth wall repeatedly in most of his films. But with Vice he choses a war veteran to narrate the film, who speaks directly to the audience but ties the whole story together in a shocking way. The humor comes hard and fast but McKay still manages to get the story across successfully.
Generally, Vice is a thoroughly entertaining romp of a film. Taking on a very difficult subject and managing to deliver all of the information in an informative way. If you want to take a close look at the darker side of politics, have a bit of a laugh along the way whilst learning how the world has become such a messed up place. Then, Vice is the film to watch.