VICE Review – Making Political Satire Great Again

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Vice Review – A stylized, grim and funny Dick Cheney biopic starring a shape-shifting Christian Bale.

Vice ReviewWidely considered the most powerful VP ever, Dick Cheney (Christian Bale) was a Halliburton CEO who put loyalists in high-places in the government, set up Guantanamo Bay detention camp, authorized bringing down planes on 9/11, made controversial use of secret intelligence to justify an Iraq invasion, shot a good friend without apology, betrayed his gay daughter, got two DUIs and survived five heart attacks.

But wait! There’s more. Yep, this pitch-black comic biopic covers all that plus a bunch of stuff you probably didn’t know or maybe even forgot. Before the myriad events have had a chance to sink in, writer-director Adam McKay has raced ahead to something else.

 Vice takes on targets big and small, showing no mercy to anyone (except maybe Colin Powell, played by Tyler Perry), but if you’re a fan of broad performances akin to Alec Baldwin’s Saturday Night Live Donald Trump, then give it a look. If nothing else, Bale and Sam Rockwell (as George Dubya) are sure to tickle your fancy in much the same manner as a burlesque comedy team—but with sobering consequences. Amy Adams is less cartoonish as Cheney’s avidly loyal wife, Lynne, helping to shed light on the personal side of his partisan shenanigans.

Having said that, I believe Vice offers more than fodder for liberal moviegoers; it takes a lively and sometimes surprisingly sympathetic interest in its elected target. But no matter how inspired and well-acted, the pacing doesn’t hold. Like a bloated government that’s been shut down, this flick has a major structural problem.

Regardless, Vice shows that McKay could be one of cinema history’s heavy-hitters—perhaps even on par with Mike Nichols or Oliver Stone—when it comes to shameless political and social satire.

What’s more, Vice is a towering achievement in terms of cinematography, scoring, and editing. The amount of work, and the flawless attention to detail, that went into the making of Vice is impressive and noteworthy. Fans of McKay’s The Big Short will know what to expect, but might be surprised as well.

Rated R
2 Hours 12 Minutes

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Vice Review – A stylized, grim and funny Dick Cheney biopic starring a shape-shifting Christian Bale.

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Staci Layne Wilson

Staci Layne Wilson is an accomplished writer / director / producer / film critic and the author the bestseller So L.A. - A Hollywood Memoir. Find her on

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