On the surface, Vice might seem like a smarmy put down of the Bush-Cheney administration, but it actually shows zero favoritism toward one side or the other. Instead, it’s a sharp look at one of the most polarizing figures in American history and it showcases these men as the perceived leaders they were, but also goes further than you might think.
Christian Bale stars as Dick Cheney and we get to see his early beginnings from being a failure at Yale to marrying Lynne (Amy Adams) to making his way up the ranks from Chief of Staff under Nixon’s cabinet and meeting Donald Rumsfeld (Steve Carell). Carell delivers some blisteringly funny moments largely I think due to writer/director Adam McKay’s uncompromising script.
Besides his political career, we also get several glimpses of Cheney’s personal life particularly his relationship with his youngest daughter Mary (Alison Pill).
Fate comes knocking when Presidential candidate George W. Bush (Sam Rockwell) asks him to be his running mate and the two of them discuss the prospects while having barbeque chicken.
Bale’s uncanny resemblance to Dick Cheney is unquestionable and it’s another rare occasion where I believed he was Dick Cheney. His look, voice, and essence are spot on and he portrays Cheney as matter-of-fact instead of a caricature.
The rest of the cast including Sam Rockwell as Bush, Amy Adams as his wife Lynne and Steve Carell as Rumsfeld all deliver top notch work. There’s always a nuanced performance from every actor and sometimes they’re in on the absurdity of the times.
The movie could again be accused of suffering from biopic formula, but the actors are at once funny, biting, convincing and even give a hint of satire into their roles.
Vice may not change your mind on Bush, Cheney, or anyone else involved, but it’s solidly made and entertaining throughout.
(Rated R for language and some violent images.)