RELEASE DATE: December 25, 2018
MPAA RATING: R (for language and some violent images)
Whether one enjoys the film “Vice” will largely depend upon one’s political leanings. Writer/Director Adam McKay (The Big Short) brings us a multi-layered biopic that chronicles the journey of Dick Cheney, whose drive and political ambition ultimately led him to achieve the U.S. vice presidency under President George W. Bush.
Regardless of one’s perspective, a valid reason to see this film is the outstanding performances by Christian Bale as Cheney, Sam Rockwell as Bush, and Amy Adams as Lynne Cheney. Steve Carell’s portrayal of Donald Rumsfeld is less convincing, but the actor certainly gives it his all.
That Cheney was perhaps the most powerful U.S. vice president is well documented, but the general take-away from “Vice” is that the man was power hungry, bitter, and downright evil. Folks can debate that point-of-view ad nauseam, and audience members may not feel quite right about the certainties of all such claims. Therein lies the dilemma of adequately critiquing this type of film that attempts to strike a balance between fact and supposition.
It would be wise, therefore, to approach “Vice” as a film narrative entertainment, which it is, rather than as a documentary, which it is not. Undoubtedly McKay succeeds in making his agenda known, which is unlikely to change the minds of viewers, regardless of their respective political beliefs.