Vice - This Cheney-Tastic Movie Rocks
Dir: Adam McKay
Starring Christian Bale, Amy Adams, Steve Carell, Alison Pill, Jesse Plemons, Sam Rockwell, Eddie Marsan, Shea Whigham, Lily Rabe, Tyler Perry
Adam McKay’s latest acerbic look at (more or less) contemporary American life is easily his finest film to date, and one of the best films of the year to boot. Christian Bale, eventually swathed in a fine fat suit and make-up job, is political mover and shaker, one time vice president and accidental shooter of faces, Dick Cheney, and this vision of his rise to power paints a brilliantly Machiavellian portrait.
Best know as a political advisor advisor who became VP to George W Bush (beautifully played as largely ineffectual by Rockwell), McKay employs many of the same stylistic gags he used in The Big Short – watch for the end titles half-way through, and Alfred Molina’s waiter offering a menu of world carnage – but here has a tougher, meaner and ultimately more satisfying edge than that very worthy movie. In many ways, it’s a easier task to profile a man who borders on being the benign face of evil than it is to try and explain the intricacies of sub-prime mortgages. But McKay’s movie eschews “easy” in favour of complex, and highlighting the sheer audacity of the man’s actions. If power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely, then McKay’s portrait of Cheney is that of an absolutely corrupted man. And one who appears to be without conscience.
And in this depiction he is ably met by Bale, embracing all the seeping darkness of this film, and giving what may well be the performance of his life, a performance that now makes him the front-runner for this year’s Best Actor Oscar, superbly supported by a standout cast, notably Adams as his wife Lynne, and the aforementioned Rockwell as Dubya.
Vice is vicious, scathing, terrifying in its implications and altogether brilliantly funny. If it takes Best Picture at next month’s Oscars, we would not be surprised. And we certainly wouldn’t be disappointed.
And stay for the mid-credit sting – which is the funniest scene in the movie. Fantastic.
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