Wednesday, January 23, 2019

Movie Review: "Vice" (2018)

Director: Adam McKay
Year: 2018
Rating: R
Running Time: 2 hours, 12 minutes

The story of Vice President Dick Cheney's rise to and maneuvering for political power in Washington.

Vice 2018 movie
"What do we believe?" (Image Source)
How do you get people to watch a biopic about a dick like Dick Cheney? Turning his life into a political satire is probably a good approach because who doesn't love to laugh about people who perpetrated war crimes? "Vice" is written and directed by Adam McKay, who is known for making films like "Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy," "Step-Brothers," and the Best Picture-nominated/Best Original Screenplay-winning "The Big Short." This film tells the story of Dick Cheney (Christian Bale) and his journey from heavy drinking Yale dropout to one of the most powerful men in Washington. It covers his stint as a Congressman for Wyoming's only district, through his early work in the White House as Chief of Staff under President Gerald Ford, through his time at Halliburton, up to his appointment to Vice President of the United States by George W. Bush. The movie also shows how Cheney was a key player in setting today's tumultuous political climate in motion and parallels it with what has transpired in the years since the Bush administration left office.
Vice 2018 movie
"Half the room wants to be us and half the room fears us." (Image Source)
For much of his career, Adam McKay has been synonymous with directing silly comedies usually led by Will Ferrell. In 2015, he started making slightly more serious social and political satirical comedies with the film "The Big Short." McKay tries to mimic the same approach with "Vice," taking what he did with the housing crisis in "The Big Short" and applying that technique to the career of former Vice President Dick Cheney. Unfortunately, what worked with the very complex issues of the economic collapse and subsequent housing crisis of 2007-2010 doesn't work that well with Cheney's far less convoluted career. When discussing subprime mortgages, CDOs, MBSs, and everything else that went into that financial mess, a fourth wall break with a metaphorical explanation from Margot Robbie or Anthony Bourdain breaking it down into layman's terms helped a lot (even though many found it to be distracting to the overall film). We don't need that kind of hand-holding when it comes to Cheney or his hunger for more and more power. With the housing crisis, many people didn't know what was actually going on behind closed doors. It has always been pretty common knowledge that Dick Cheney was and has always been a monstrous person who would stop at nothing to get the things he wanted, one of which was a war with Iraq despite their lack of involvement in 9/11. The narrative of the film is also a bit choppy. Most of this has to do with the weird editing applied throughout the film. Many abrupt time jumps occur that are not only ill-fitting but are also pointless in the context of the story.

The entire thing isn't a complete waste of time, however. There is still some interesting information that shows how the foundations of today's volatile political climate were set in place all the way back in the '70s, but that is about it. A lot of the information given here doesn't go much deeper than what you can read on Cheney's Wikipedia page with a dramatic flair added for good measure. Luckily, Christian Bale gives a great performance and keeps the audience interested from start to finish, even when you're annoyed, angered, or depressed about what's going on on screen. The makeup work done by Greg Cannom, Kate Biscoe, and Patricia DeHaney is tremendous on everyone involved. The level of detail added to the faces, hands, hair, and bodies of Bale, Amy Adams, Tyler Perry, Steve Carell, and Sam Rockwell is totally deserving of recognition at the Oscars this year.
Vice 2018 movie
"In today's parlance, I think they'd just call him a dirtbag." (Image Source)
We feel Adam McKay dropped the ball on this one. Despite its acclaim, "Vice" is a rather middling affair with way too many distracting things about it to be ultimately successful. If McKay had played it a little more straightforward without so many bells and whistles, we have a hunch "Vice" would have worked out a lot better.

My Rating: 6/10
BigJ's Rating: 6/10
IMDB's Rating: ~7.1/10
RT Rating: ~64%
Do we recommend this movie: Sure, why not?

Please be sure to check out Lolo Loves Films all over the internet!

No comments:

Post a Comment