Vice

Written and directed by Oscar winner Adam McKay best known for the 2015 movie The Big Short, Vice is a dramatic and sometimes darkly comedic movie about Vice President Dick Cheney and is remarkable for the terrific acting performances, especially from Christian Bale. The film is a series of flashbacks and montage sequences recounting the most important events in the life of the notoriously uncharismatic and vilified Cheney, played by the truly transformative actor Christian Bale who has already won a Golden Globe for his role. We first meet Cheney as vice president under President George W. Bush in the aftermath of the September 11th terrorist attacks, but the story shifts back to the 1960s when Dick Cheney had a working-class job in his native state of Wyoming. After living a wild life as an alcoholic, eventually he reforms his ways with the help of his assertive wife Lynne Cheney, played by Oscar winner Amy Adams, and enters the world of politics as a White House intern in 1969 under President Nixon. He continues to a political force to be reckoned with who attains increasingly powerful jobs with President Ford, President Reagan, President George H. W. Bush, and President George W. Bush, and interrupted by a career as the congressman from Wyoming. During his early political days, he becomes very close to the eventual Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, played by Oscar nominee Steve Carell, who is also depicted as a cunning and shady political figure. The movie also explores parts of his personal life that are often overlooked and include his relationship with his equally powerful wife and the revelation that one of his daughters Liz is a lesbian. It is not until the presidential election of 2000 that Dick Cheney becomes a household name when he is asked by the younger Bush, played by Oscar winner Sam Rockwell, to become his running mate. Portrayed as a bumbling redneck who only runs for president to please his father, George W. Bush is only able to convince the hesitant Cheney to become his VP by granting him unprecedented executive power for a vice president. The remainder of the film provides snippets of his controversial career as possibly the most powerful man in the country: it is a rather unflattering look that shows him to be a shrewd yet dangerously conniving figure partly responsible for the deaths of thousands of soldiers with the Iraq War. It may sound unusual to call it a dark comedy, but there are flashes of it through the use of caricature of malevolent characters and witty narrative devices, including a fake end credits and Cheney talking directly to the audience. Overall, I found it to be a compelling and entertaining look into one of the most divisive political figures brought to life by the extremely talented and committed actor Christian Bale; it can also be seen as a cautionary tale against consolidating too much power into the executive branch and warning against the rise of another Dick Cheney.

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