I am not a political person. I don’t follow politics in the news, I’m not interested in the candidates or who has the best policy at hand. On the other side of the equation, I enjoy watching politically based movies and television shows. I like the way they are presented and when they are done well, they provide topics that you can talk about for great lengths of time. With Vice, this movie tells the story of Dick Cheney and how his politics have forever shaped the USA, especially after 9/11. It has a good idea to work with, but writer and director Adam McKay seems to have lost his way in the project, which makes for a lackluster experience.
As mentioned earlier, I don’t follow politics, but I enjoy watching stories about them. I tend to not research the movie prior to seeing it as I want the film to educate me about the characters that are being portrayed on the screen. Vice opens with the youth of Cheney. He was a heavy drinker, got in trouble with the law and got kicked out of Yale. He eventually becomes interested in politics and works closely with Donald Rumsfeld (Steve Carell). Christian Bale does great work in his portrayal as Cheney, from the look and the way he speaks, and even to the added weight that he put on for this role, which looks very convincing.
Vice promises to tell us how America was changed after the events of 9/11 and the actions that Cheney took that greatly affected the minds of the American people. We get to see numerous players in the White House- President George W. Bush (Sam Rockwell), Colin Powell (Tyler Perry) Condoleezza Rice (Lisa Gay Hamilton) and Lynne Cheney (Amy Adams). All the actors do great work but their talents feel wasted as the script is primarily focused on Cheney himself, something which I found to be quite disappointing.
In order to understand the character as a whole, we need to have the full story and Vice avoids a lot of juicy details that could explain how Cheney became the man we know him to be. He becomes the White House Chief of Staff and becomes the CEO of Halliburton, one of the world’s largest oil field service companies, all before becoming VP. This movie doesn’t make time to talk about those positions that he held and what he did for them. What we get instead is a voice-over narration from Kurt (Jesse Plemons) who has a connection to Cheney, but instead of explaining his character more, we just get a handful of scenes.
The film’s focus is the aftermath of 9/11 and what Cheney did while being the Vice President. We see scenes of the Twin Towers and their final moments, the War in Iraq, and chilling moments from Guantanamo Bay. Overall, the film is very boring and is supposed to be funny, I suppose. The audience laughed a total of two times, believe me I counted. They seemed confused as the movie doesn’t focus on telling a clear and thought out story. The movie isn’t funny, nor was it insightful, at least not to me. I walked out of the theater more eager to watch a documentary instead of talking about this movie for one minute.
Verdict 1 out of 5
Vice is a mess, plain and simple. It lacks focus and chooses to pass on interesting subjects in favor for a story we remember more from the news reports. I think Adam McKay knows a lot about Dick Cheney, but unfortunately, he can’t tell the story in a way that we can understand or even feel as if we’ve learned something. I will give credit to Christian Bale, as his performance is very good, but even he can’t save this colossal mess, which fails to entertain, bring in the laughs, or provide a story good enough for a friendly discussion once the movie is over.