Vice (2018)

vice poster 2018 movie
7.0 Overall Score
Story: 6/10
Acting: 10/10
Visuals: 8/10

Great make-up and acting

Story and story layout feels sloppy and hinders the story instead of enhances it

Movie Info

Movie Name:  Vice

Studio:  Plan B Entertainment

Genre(s):  Comedy/Drama

Release Date(s):  December 11, 2018 (Premiere)/December 25, 2018 (US)

MPAA Rating:  R

vice christian bale dick cheney young

…and only if he had stayed in the line business

Dick Cheney (Christian Bale) chooses his path when he is given an ultimatum by his girlfriend Lynne (Amy Adams).  Setting down a path of a “public servant”, Cheney finds his way to Washington and becomes an ally of Donald Rumsfeld (Steve Carell) during the Nixon administration.  There, Cheney finds his direction and realizes that real power can be held by the people behind the scenes…if they plan for it.  With a plan in mind, Cheney sets out to change the world and nothing will be the same again!

Written and directed by Adam McKay, Vice is a comedy-drama biopic of Vice President Dick Cheney.  The film was released to positive to somewhat polarized reviews due to its style but acclaim for the actors.  The film won an Academy Awards for Best Make-Up and Hairstyling with nominations for Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor (Bale), Best Supporting Actor (Rockwell), Best Supporting Actress (Adams), Best Original Screenplay, and Best Film Editing.

I really wanted to love Vice.  I really liked The Big Short and when I saw Vice presented, it looked like a similar take on the events which just happened to be covered in The Big Short.  With an amazing cast, Vice excels in acting, but it does struggle in storytelling.

vice dick cheney christian bale

Well…it’s only Monday, but I wonder what type of power-grab I can make today?

To star off, Vice is an actor driven film.  While many actors simply imitate the people they are playing both Amy Adams and Christian Bale turn Dick and Lynne Cheney into rounded complex characters while doing spot-on imitation of them.  I see a lot of Steve Carell in his performance of Donald Rumsfeld, but he does keep the character interesting, and though they were rather small roles, I liked both Tyler Perry (as Colin Powell) and LisaGay Hamilton (as Condoleezza Rice).  I felt Sam Rockwell is playing more of a caricature of George W. Bush than a rounded character which is unfortunate and I always like seeing Jesse Plemons, Naomi Watts, and Alfred Molina pop up (even though they have relatively small parts).

The problem with Vice is that is seems rather out of control.  It is gimmicky, and while the gimmicks McKay’s previous movie The Big Short helped tell the story (with breakaway scenes etc.), I found them rather distracting here.  The story is so shuffled that the path of the character isn’t really clear (like if it had ended at 9-11 or ended with Bush’s presidency).  The movie seemed to drag near the end and things like a tacked on “this is a left-leaning film” scene felt unnecessary and more juvenile than smart.

vice george w bush dick cheney christian bale sam rockwell

This is going work out great…for me

The film is snappy and the make-up is amazing.  Putting the characters side-by-side to their counterparts shows how strong the character designers were.  The movie’s design doesn’t seem to enhance the story as much as attempts to make it more salacious or shocking.

Go see Vice for the acting, but I felt that the story didn’t give me much more of a view of Cheney than I had before watching the movie.  I know a lot of the stuff he pulled and I know how influential (like him or hate him) he was.  McKay admits at the beginning of the film that Cheney is notoriously private and a lot of the scenes, conversations, and details are assumed or compiled…I just wish he had laid them out in a better format.

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

Leave A Response