Friday, 4 January 2019

Vice





I went into the cinema with low expectations, having heard mixed reports about Vice. As a result, I enjoyed Vice much more than I thought I would, though it is definitely an uneven film and therefore not deserving of more than ***+ (which is what I’m giving it). 

Vice tells us the story of Dick Cheney, from his college days through his vice-presidency under George W. Bush. It’s a story that deserves telling because Cheney is responsible for more death and destruction than any man alive. As Vice clearly shows, Cheney was responsible for the invasion of Afghanistan and Iraq after 9/11 (which, at the least, he immediately used for his own ends), he is single-handedly responsible for the very existence of ISIS, and his efforts in support of the fossil fuel industry (and against the environment) may impact the planet for centuries to come. One expects to see how such a man brilliantly schemed, from childhood on, to take over (and destroy) the world, so it’s surprising to discover how average he was. It’s also surprising (though with Trump in the White House, it should not be) to see how easy Cheney’s rise to power was, despite that average background. 

To tell such a story as a dark comedy/satire is entirely appropriate and, in its attempts at comedy, Vice frequently succeeds (a scene in the middle of the film is as funny as any I’ve seen this year), much more often than shows like Veep, for example. Where Vice fails is in trying to make the film a serious drama as well as an insightful comedy. The mix just doesn’t feel right and there were a number of scenes I felt were quite unnecessary (and could have been replaced with a lot more of the crazy satire elements). 

Nevertheless, I did find Adam McKay’s film thoroughly entertaining, especially watching the incredible acting efforts of Christian Bale (as Cheney), Amy Adams (as Lynne, Cheney’s wife) and Sam Rockwell (as W). A solid ***+. My mug is up.

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